On New Year's Eve Day, I got lucky and was able to observe the owl for 45 minutes after dark. Although I didn't see it catch a rodent, it was very carefully observing three waiting for them to venture out of the fenced in area they were hiding in.
Christmas Eve day was quiet in the park. I saw Pale Male on the Beresford Apartments and at least one other Red-tail who was keeping track of the Barred Owl. (This Red-tail went over to Teddy Roosevelt Park outside Central Park before returning.)
The Barred Owl was very cooperative tonight and was easy to track for about fifteen minutes after the fly out.
The smallest owl that visits Central Park is the Northern Saw-whet Owl. It's about eight inches tall. A Saw-whet has been in the park for about a week. Today, it was in a perfect spot to watch until dusk. A small group of us were hoping for a fly out, but the owl jumped to the center of the bush it has been perching in rather than flying out. I was disappointed but also glad to see that the owl could out smart us.
Despite all of time I've spent looking at owls, I have been keeping an eye out for Pale Male. Today, I started my birding near Pale Male's nest. My first views were of a Cooper's Hawk chasing some European Starlings.
Then Pale Male arrived. He broke off a tree branch and took it to the nest. He then perched a little south of the nest on a fence, then a water tank and then a railing. He kept looking south. I think his new mate may be spending her time below 72nd Street.
On a gray late Fall day, a visit to Central Park yielded a few Cooper's Hawks, two Barred Owls and a few Red-tailed Hawks. Let's hope the Barred Owls stay for the Christmas Bird count, Sunday, December 16th.