A lot happened in Manhattan this past week:
Broadway Bridge Peregrines: Bonnie Talluto confirms the two eyasses are now fledglings.
Inwood Hill Park: Diane Schenker reports the nest has hatched. She can see at least one eyass, but can't get a good count yet.
Highbridge Park: Mitchell Nusbaum reports the nest has fledged.
St. John the Divine: The surviving nestling fledged on Friday.
Riverside Park: The pair is sitting on their second clutch.
55 Water Street Peregrines: They've all fledged.
I visited the scrape on Saturday afternoon. The eyasses have matured a great deal since I last saw them. They look like they should be ready to fledge by next weekend.
I've included some photographs of the bridge and the Harlem River. I realized in my excitement over finding this year's scrape, I forgot to document the area. Below the bridge are the Metro North Hudson River Line tracks and the Harlem River. The bridge has two levels, an upper deck for the 1 subway train, and a lower deck for car traffic.
I've become fascinated with the Broadway Bridge scrape. It's the first time I've been able to watch young Peregrine Falcons in person. It's a lot different than watching the 55 Water Street video feed.
Tonight there was a feeding by one of the parents, although it looks like the eyasses can pick at food by themselves. I'm looking forward to watching this pair grow up and fledge.
New York City has a large population of Peregrine Falcon's. My favorite pair has a scrape on Broadway Bridge, easily accessible by the 1 subway train. It's the Marble Hill-225th Street stop. The bridge is a drawbridge over the Harlem River and allows you some of the closest views of Peregrine Falcons in the city. This year, their scrape is situated so that you can see the eyasses being fed.
While searching for a possible Red-tailed Hawk nest, I saw this American Kestrel at 133rd and Broadway. It was a fun find, because I was able to I.D. it without binoculars based on its tail pump and silhouette. As you have more experience as a birder, lots of little clues just start to click in automatically.
Now if I could only understand shorebirds...
The annual Christmas Bird Count was held in Central Park. The snow storm had tapered off just in time for a nice morning in the park.
Counting in fresh snow was good exercise, although it kept the count numbers down. I birded the Northwest. Highlights included a female Wood Duck and a Great Blue Heron (most likely the same bird Jack Meyer saw earlier in the week on the Lake). Our group had two raptor species, a Cooper's Hawk and a pair of Red-tailed Hawks.
An unusual species for the count was a Turkey Vulture, with multiple fly overs the park. Speculation was that heavy snow forced the vultures south. The Riverside Park count even had a Bald Eagle. So the weather was a mixed blessing.
All over New York City, wintering hawks are establishing themselves in various parks. I've received emails about hawks on the Upper East Side, down in Washington Square Park, and Riverside Park in Manhattan, as well as other locations in Queens and Brooklyn.
This Cooper's Hawk seems to have settled into the Loch in Central Park, and looks like it might stay the winter.
I walked up from the mid-70s to the North Woods to look for Screech-Owls and came along some interesting diversions along the way. On a building at 89th Street and Central Park West was a Red-tailed Hawk. This section of the park, west of the Reservoir, usually has a Red-tailed guest during the winter. To my surprise there were two Red-tailed Hawks, something I'm not used to seeing here.
Then while waiting for it to get dark, a Cooper's Hawk dove into the Loch. It caught a squirrel and ate it. It's the first time I've seen a Cooper's Hawk with a squirrel.
Lastly, I was able to see and hear both of the North Woods resident Eastern Screech-Owls. They've switched roosts, so we felt lucky to find them.
On the way out of the park, I saw that the Lasker Pool is now the Lasker Rink! Another sign of the changing seasons.
The North Woods of Central Park were very quiet on Saturday afternoon. I had gone looking for Eastern Screech-Owls, who become harder to find this time of year, as they switch from tree top roost to cavity roosts. The owls gave me the slip and I didn't hear them after dark.
The best bird I saw was this Cooper's Hawk hunting along the Loch.
While leaving the Wildflower Meadow, I flushed an immature Sharp-shinned Hawk by accident. I was able to watch its wing beats and see its tail shape to confirm it was a Sharp-shinned, rather than a Cooper's Hawk. It was just another reminder that summer was almost over. The light was already starting to fail, so the pictures aren't that great.
It was great to see something completely unexpected. Migrations season can be like that. You think you know what to expect and then you'll see something unusual.
I did get to see one of the Eastern Screech-Owls in their roost tree. They really seem to have settled down again now that most of the tree removal work is done.
Today one of my co-workers, called my office to tell me she could hear two Peregrine Falcons on the west side of my office building. The falcons had already flown off by the time I got to her office, but from the east side of our office building, I was able to locate and photograph one of them high atop 41 Madison at 26th Street.
I spent the early afternoon looking at the Riverside Red-tailed Hawk pair on Saturday. There nest is just off the Hudson River near 8st Street and looks great. Last year they laid eggs around mid-March, so the female should start sitting on the nest soon.
Other nests in Manhattan are doing well. Inwood Hill Park, Highbridge Park, St. John the Divine and 5th Avenue nests are doing fine. The Highbridge nest is back to its old spot.
The Central Park South pair is still there but I don't have any details about their nest. The Houston female lost her mate last year, and may be nesting on the ConEd plant around 14th Street. The pair that was around the City College campus remains a mystery.
Sightings of hawks this winter around the north end of Riverside Park and around the Court House buildings on Center Street make these locations possibilities for new nests this year.
03/14/2009 in 5th Avenue Red-tailed Hawks, General News, Highbridge Park Red-tailed Hawks, Inwood Hill Park Red-tailed Hawks, Lower East Side Red-tailed Hawks, Other Eagles, Hawks and Falcons, Other Red-tailed Hawks, Riverside Park Red-tailed Hawks, Southern Central Park Red-tailed Hawks | Permalink
During the winter, about an hour north of Manhattan on the Hudson River, you can find Bald Eagles. On Saturday, Teatown’s Hudson River Eaglefest 2009 was held along the river. I drove up with James O'Brien and Ben Cacace and we ended up seeing over sixty eagles! (We might have actually seen more, but we didn't count the eagles we saw on the west side of the river to avoid double counting.)
We birded both sides of the river from Croton-on-Hudson on the east bank, up to George's Island and Bear Mountain and down as far as Haverstraw on the west bank.
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The oven is a cove on the Lake of Central Park. It attracts a good number of birds during each season, including the winter.
Today, there were a number of birds, including a Red-tailed Hawk, a Hermit Thrush, numerous Northern Cardinals, numerous Tufted Titmice, and a Cooper's Hawk that has been roosting in the same location nearby since at least early January.
On Sunday, I spent the late afternoon looking for Long-eared Owls without success. But I did run into a few hawks.
On the Beresford Apartments, was Pale Male in the oval window, and Lola soaking up the sun on a south facing ledge.
This young hawk was in the Ramble making its way between the official and the not so official bird feeders looking for customers to eat.
This Sharp-shinned Hawk, with prey in talons, was being chased by a Red-tailed Hawk near 69th Street and the West Drive. The Sharp-shinned Hawk evaded the Red-tail and got away with its prey. Everything happened too fast for me to capture the action, but it reminded me that winter is the time to see lots of raptors in New York City.
Red-Shouldered Hawks are rare visitors to Central Park, so it was a pleasure to see them in the Everglades over my Christmas/New Year's break while visiting Florida.
The first four photographs are of a juvenile bird, then some of two adults. The last two are of an attack on an egret by a Red-shouldered Hawk at the Shark Valley Visitor's Center. (I was the only one among about 30 visitors who noticed the attack. I guess people being unaware of nature isn't only limited to the city!)
I did some lazy birding in Central Park on Christmas Day.
I started out and ended up searching for owls, which were impossible to find today. The red phased Screech-Owl is only being found on very cold days. Her alternative cavities haven't been discovered.
The Screech-Owl from last season, either from the 60's or up in the North Wood, haven't been found either. Nor have any Long-eared Owls stayed for more than a day, although two have been seen in the fall.
Between my owl searches, I did get to see a Cooper's Hawk, two Common Loons, some cute Hooded Mergansers and the "other" Red-headed Woodpecker (up by the tennis courts rather than in the Locust Grove).
I went looking for Eastern-screech Owls today, but didn't have any luck finding them. The familiar cavities and locations from last year, all turned up empty. A few cavities even had squirrels where owls had been roosting last season.
The day wasn't a wash out however. It included an adult Cooper's Hawk who led me from the Ramble to the Locust Grove. It also included two juvenile Red-tailed Hawks, who seem to get along just fine. Both had just finished meals, and were in trees no more than 100 yards apart.
The Blue Jays in the park have been making lots of noise these last few weeks. Most of the time it seems to be a false alarm, but this afternoon they were helpful. They helped me find a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk and an Accipiter (either a Cooper's Hawk or Sharp-shinned Hawk). They were west of the Conservatory Garden and east of the Compost Heap.
All of the pictures but the last one are of the Red-tail. It was eating something with a thin band on each leg. I didn't stay long enough to see if they got swollowed.
There was a Cooper's Hawk in the Ramble of Central Park today. It was one of our first really crisp fall days, and we should have Cooper's Hawks in the park from now until Spring. It was one of my first surprises, when I started bird watching in the park, that Central Park is the winter home of many birds.
The Broadway Bridge Peregrine Falcon family can be difficult to watch, since the bridge has two towers. This makes it difficult to see everyone at once and figure out how many there are.
Luckily, after a rainstorm early Saturday evening all five could easily be counted and identified. While I was there one of the parents feed one of the youngsters. The parents don't bring the fledglings their food, but instead make them chase them and make them catch the food in mid-flight. It's amazing to watch. (The 1 train prevented me from taking photographs of the feeding unfortunately.)
I went up to Inwood Hill looking for the two fledglings, but could only find one of the parents. Reports are that both fledglings have been exploring the park, and spent most of the week getting mobbed by smaller birds. I hope to have better luck next weekend.
On the way back, I passed by Broadway Bridge. I saw both parents, and one of the fledglings. This is a fun site, since you can see the birds from the Number 1 train platform. Only in New York City.