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Drying, Disco and a Diva

Tonight after an afternoon of birding the North Woods of Central Park without a camera, and after a break to avoid a thunderstorm, I caught up with one of the Sheep Meadow youngsters.

It was a simple encounter with a hawk drying it's feathers and then hunting.  (It had gotten to dark to photograph the capture of the rat which it caught after I had packed up for the night.)

The Salsa music of a few nights ago was replaced by roller-blading Disco, and at the end of the evening a singer who exploited the acoustics of the band shell.


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Rodent Dinner with Salsa

While many fledglings have started to disperse and leave their parents, the two Sheep Meadow fledglings seem in no rush to leave yet.

One of the fledglings, who loves to hunt around the band shell, caught a rodent and ate it to the sounds and sights of Salsa dancers enjoying a wonderful summer evening.

The video includes the entire footage of the rodent being consumed.


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Sheep Meadow Fledgling

I arrived at the Mall to find a crowd around one of the set of wooden benches that form a protective area.  Inside was one of the Sheep Meadow fledglings, having just caught a pigeon.  The hawks had to spend its time watching everyone who surrounded it eventually flew off to the north.

Struggling to find a good perch to eat the pigeon, it dropped in on to a crowded path.  It sat patiently to reclaim its meal, but there were too many people.  Eventually a hawk watcher moved the pigeon to a protected lawn, and the fledgling came down and ate the bird.

Many of the area's fledglings have already started to leave the area, so it was nice to see this youngster in late August.


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Red and Green

It's ironic, given that I'm Red/Green Colorblind, that my two good birds of the day on Saturday were a Red-tailed Hawk and Green Heron.

The Red-tailed Hawk was the same bird I saw Friday. It was again perched on a window railing of 2 East 70th Street. 

The Green Heron was in a shallow area of the The Pond north of Gapstow bridge.  These mudflat areas are import to wading birds, but they're constantly being removed by the Central Park Conservancy. The original landscaping of the park had water bodies with clean sculpted edges, which removed the transitional areas of marsh and mud needed by many birds.  Luckily, natural erosion does a great job of bringing these mudflats back!

At about 6:56 on the video is a great shot of the Green Heron "licking its lips". 


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Con Edison and a Bat

Tonight, I found an adult Red-tailed Hawk on the towers of the Con Edison plant at Avenue C and 13th Street, who could have been the Adult Female of the Tompkins Square Park pair.

Later in the evening the Adult Male was in Tompkins Square Park, caught and ate two small rodents and then went to the roost tree he's been using the last week.  There he did something I've never seen before, he was fascinated by a bat.  A Red-tailed adult usually sits fairly still, but tonight this one moved his head all over the place keeping track of the bat as it caught insects in the SW corner of the park.


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Tompkins Square Park

Tonight, we saw the adult male hawk and a fledgling.  The father still comes to the park each evening, but at this point doesn't need to hunt for any of the fledglings.  The youngster, who caught a pigeon (but didn't eat it) kept us on our toes flying around the park as well as hanging out of fire escapes on building surrounding the park.


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Where Are You?

Starting in late July, hawk watching in New York City becomes much harder.  Fledglings, who had been yelling for food, are now quiet having learned to hunt.  Warm weather has the hawks relaxing and staying put, making them harder to spot. And everyone, young and old have dispersed to wider and wider areas.  Gone are those nice spots the families came to for meals together at regular hours!

So on Saturday, I had my first hawk free day of the summer.  I didn't pick up a single hawk on a trip through Central Park.

This Sunday, I did find two hawks however.  Pale Male up at 86th and Fifth Avenue, and one of the Sheep Meadow fledglings at The Mall.


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Sheep Meadow Parent

I've missed the Sheep Meadow fledglings the last few times I've looked for them.  Tonight, I  missed them yet again, but I saw one of the parents for about an hour.

While watching the parent, I ran across folks who had seen both of the fledglings earlier in day.  I also ran into a couple who had photographed one of them on the railing of a flowerbed on Fifth Avenue at 72nd Street with their iPhone.  It was nice to know they were doing well, even if I didn't get to see them.


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Father's Day

The father was the only hawk I saw in Tompkins Square Park tonight.  He came to his usual spot, where only a week ago he was regularly feeding the fledglings.  But it looks like the fledglings are hunting on their own and don't need Dad's handouts.

Dad, who's molting and looking a bit scruffy, made a few hunting passes before catching something at the north end of the park.  He ate it in the children's fountain area, which is locked up at 7, so no pictures of meal.


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Tompkins Square on Saturday and Sunday

Being one of the latest nests in the city, Tompkins Square Park still has its fledglings staying fairly close to the nest.  All of the fledglings seem to have picked up hunting skills fairly well.  On Sunday, one of the fledglings did a great job of killing a pigeon.

The hawks even seemed to be drawn to some of the punk bands playing in the park over the weekend!



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