Before leaving on vacation, I made a brief visit to the park on December 26th. In my brief visit, I had a Barred Owl, a Coopers Hawk and Pale Male.
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.
I spent time watching American Crows, waterfowl and American Kestrels on Saturday and watched Pale Male on Sunday. The Harlem Meer had a nice selection of birds, including Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, Gadwalls, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Wood Ducks, and a Mute Swan.
Sandy made a mess of the park, and there are still sections closed. The clean up may take longer than usual as resources are being sent to hard hit areas of NYC rather than Central Park. Sadly entitled Upper East and West siders are complaining about how they suffered because they can't walk their dogs in the park or use the bypass road in the north of the park, which is now a staging area for the clean up. Get a life folks!
I went looking for the Washington Square Red-tailed Hawks on Wednesday and came up empty. However, I did find the Peregrine Falcon that hangs out at the top of 100 Bleecker Street. I sure hope we have a Peregrine Falcon scrape next year in the Village.
This afternoon in Washington Square was fun. Both hawks were very easy to find and for the first time, I got to see the nearby Peregrine Falcon in detail. The Peregrine Falcon is a juvenile and may be roosting on 100 Bleecker Street, an I. M. Pei designed, International Style building used for NYU faculty housing.
Bobby roosted on MacDougal street building this evening. It's a noisy perch, but does have a view of 100 Bleecker!
On Saturday, I explored the park looking for raptors. My first was a Merlin falcon on a water tank on top of the Lincoln Correctional Facility on 110th Street. It was chased away by a mob of Crows. Later, I saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk hunting, although it was too fast to photograph. As I ended my walk, I saw the female Red-tailed Hawk, Lima on a 5th Avenue building around 77th Street.
Everyone was expecting the Riverside Church Peregrine Falcons to have fledged by now, but they were still all there when I visited on Thursday. I was very surprised to see five youngsters still at the scrape!
(It received an email late tonight that one of the falcons fledged after I left. So, two species of Raptors had fledges on the same day just block apart.)
With the Riverside Church Peregrine Falcon parents have fledglings, expect a few territorial disputes between the St. John the Divine Red-tailed Hawk parents.
It was nice to see the Merlin on the water tower at 101st and Central Park west again. I think it has stayed all winter.
Today, I discovered that it's not just a single Peregrine Falcon that has been hanging out on the Eldorado towers, but a pair. One was on the north towe and the other on the south tower, before one moved to a ledge lower down on the building.
(Pale Male has been spending time just below the Reservoir. I wonder if he's keeping an eye on these new neighbors?)
On Saturday, my late afternoon visit to Central Park started with a Peregrine Falcon on top of the southern tower of The Eldorado on Central Park West.
It ended with my standard visit to the North Wood's Eastern Screech-Owl. I got a glimpse at what might be a band on her, although it was hardly certain.
The second bird I saw in SW Florida, also at Harns Marsh was a female Snail Kite. She gave me goosebumps. She was a great flier and snail hunter.
The annual Central Park Christmas Bird Count was on Sunday. It's a great event that brings together the Urban Park Rangers, the Parks Department, Audubon NYC and lots of amateur birders to take a census of the birds wintering in the park.
After a series of bad weather counts with snow, rain or bitterly cold temperatures, this count had enjoyable, if chilly weather.
The day before, I looked for the two unusual birds that have been around, the Varied Thrush and a young Red-Headed Woodpecker (which at this age, has yet to get a red head.) Along the way I had nice looks at a Cooper's hawk.
On Sunday, I joined the Northeast team. Highlights for me were a Carolina Wren and young Red-tailed Hawk at Mount Sinai Hospital. After our counting was done, our team saw a Merlin in the Northwest team's area, I saw a young Red-tail being harrased by Pale Male at 63rd and Fifth, and at dusk I watched the park's surviving Eastern Screech-Owl's fly out.
The count had 62 species of birds, including birds from the count week. There are lots of birds in Central Park, even in the winter! The count had 11 Red-tailed Hawks, 9 Cooper's Hawks, 2 Merlins, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 Peregrine Falcon, and 1 Eastern Screech-Owl.
This youngster was in the Loch on Sunday. This is a tough period for many young hawks. They're on their own for the first time, and those that haven't mastered hunting are in a real battle for their lives. After nest and fledging accidents, this is a peak time for rehabbers, who get lots of undernourished youngsters in the Fall.
Late fall is a great time to Hawk Watch in New York City. There are lots of migrants passing through and some may even stay for the winter. Here's a Cooper's Hawk in Central Park.
The Merlin that had been hanging out on top of a watertower on Central Park West between 101st and 102nd is still there. On Tuesday, just like Sunday it caught dinner just before dusk.
The pictures and video are of poor quality, but the find was exciting. A Merlin was on top of a water tower on Central Park at 111th Street. This small falcon was a fun find on a cold afternoon.
I've been away on weekends, and it's too dark in the late afternoon to visit Riverside Park after work, so I haven't been able to visit until this Saturday.
While I was away I received reports of the youngster being at the ballfields by the dumpsters south of the Boat Basin, and further north in the 90's and 100's. The youngster's being outside of the parent's territory is a great sign that it's growing up!
When I visited Saturday, I only found the two parents. They were together on a water tower at 81st and Riverside, and both few off towards the south. I found one, perching on various lamp posts above the highway.
I went looking for the youngster, without any luck. As I left the park, I saw a bird perched on a building at 90th and Broadway. I was hoping it was the youngster, but found that it was a Peregrine Falcon, a nice consolation prize.
I also visited Croton Point Park on Saturday. On the landfill cap, there were a pair of Northern Harriers and at least two American Kestrels.
I visited the Rockefeller Preserve on Saturday and got to see a fun American Kestrel vs. Red-tailed Hawk show. It was all about territory protection. The Kestrel was protecting its family's territory. The family seemed to be two adults and two juveniles.