I finally had time to go out to Randalls Island and see this year's nest. There seem to be two eyasses this year. The nest is in the lights of Field 10, just north of the stadium.
On the fourth floor level of the fire escape on a building on the northwest corner of 96th and Lexington Avenue, there is a new hawk nest. The female was brooding when I arrived and the male was briefly on a water tank before flying out of view. I stayed until after sunset, but didn't see a nest exchange between the two hawks.
On Saturday afternoon, I walked for about five miles through Central Park. I was able to add three more birds to my 2018 Manhattan list, a Ring-Necked Duck (female at the North Gate House of the Reservoir), a Great Cormorant (on the dike in the middle of the Reservoir, a rare visitor to Central Park, but seen frequently off Randalls Island in the winter) and an immature Cooper's Hawk.
The Cooper's Hawk was exploring the Loch, a waterway with three waterfalls that flows under the Glen Span and Huddlestone arches from The Pool to the Harlem Meer. It has recently been restored by the Central Park Conservancy. The restoration carefully reshaped the waterway, to provide a mix of currents and depths designed to maximize biodiversity, with the help of a environmental consulting company. Improved landscaping was also added to minimize erosion and run offs from the North Meadow Ball Fields. I'm looking forward to seeing the biodiversity results in a few years.
I started my raptor watching in the North Woods and then worked my way around the reservoir. My first raptor was a Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk at the Wildflower meadow, who then flew around the Compost Heap. Then it was off to the reservoir, where a Peregrine Falcon has been seen for the last few days near the North Gate House. Then after looking at the nice selection of waterfowl using the open areas of reservoir, I ran into two adult hawks at the South Gate House. By then it was too dark to I.D. the hawks, but it looked like one of them was an intruder and the other was either Pale Male or Octavia.
I finally had a chance to get up to J. Hood Wright Park and found the mother doing her best to keep her eyasses out of the sun. After the sun got lower, she took a break. The nest has three eyasses this year.
Changes from the last report:
- The 95th and Lexington nest has been abandoned
- The J. Hood Wright Park nest has hatched according to observers
- The Grant's Tomb has at least two eyasses
- The Washington Square nest had an eyass die. The current pair have had three nests.
- In 2015 the nest produced 2 healthy fledglings
- In 2016 there were two unhatched eggs and while one eyass fledged suscessfully, it had problems with late feather growth.
- In 2017, there was one unhatched egg, one eyass that died in the first week and one hopefully healthy eyass.
The decline of the success rate for the Washington Square nest makes one question if there is a problem with the environment around the park. We might be seeing the effects of low levels of rodenticides or some other agent.
Our Central Park West Pair, who last year lost an egg from the San Remo, are bringing twigs to the building again. They haven't done well at nesting over the last few years, so my expectations are limited for this pair.
I finally got up to CCNY to find two hawks hanging out and not brooding. What was interesting was one was young, less than a year old, with a brown tail. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this nest in 2017 or if we'll need to wait until 2018?
I got a text from Ranger Rob Mastrianni today saying that the J. Hood Wright Park nest had four eyasses in their nest. That's very, very rare. So, I took the A train up to 175th Street and took a look this evening. I got to see all four of them. It's a good thing I went today, since one of them looks ready to leave nest.
I love these surprises. When the eyasses were younger most folks could only tell that there were one or two eyasses on the nest.
Although we can't see the eyasses yet, frequent trips off the nest by the female, flies, what look like feedings and the male bringing in food, make it clear the nest has hatched. Nice to see a young couple with a new nest be successful. Between this nest, the Grant's Tomb nest and the Peregrine Falcons on Riverside Church this should be a fun area to watch. And St. John the Divine is also a short walk away!
As many of you know, a female hawk died in the Chinatown/City Hall area earlier this season. The necropsy results for the bird has come back, with a verdict of "Poisoning - Anticoagulant rodenticide". Laura Goggin reports on her blog that the male has found a new mate but poisoning continues near where the pair have decided to nest. This means we could easily have another hawk death, just like the first if no action is taken.
Please take a few minutes to read Laura's latest report and if you have time write a polite letter to the City Council member for the area. Details are on Laura's blog.
With better weather, I got to see a nest exchange and both hawks of the 96th Street pair today. Both hawks look great. It was the first time I got a good look at the male.
I look forward to learning about this pair over the next few months. It should be a fun summer in Central Park.
Central Park has a new nest at 8 East 96th Street, on the 11th Floor, on an air conditioner in the second window from Fifth Avenue. It's technically not in the park but outside it by about 100 yards. This pair had laid an egg on 98th Street earlier in the season, and I had given up on them, assuming they were too inexperienced to get their act together this year. So, news of the new location via the NYU nest chat room community was a great surprise.
One of the few nests I hadn't seen a report about was the nest at the CCNY uptown campus on the Shepard Hall building. The female was sitting on the nest when I arrived and the male gave her a brief break. Manhattan is going to have lots of hatching nests by mid to late April!
Central Park was delightful this afternoon. After visiting the reservoir to see the Ring Necked Duck that's been hanging around the southeast corner, I found a Peregrine Falcon perched on the south tower of The Eldorado.
Soon after, I found a Red-tailed Hawk in the Pinetum, who was joined by a second hawk. They circled over Seneca Village before moving out of sight.
My last bird of the day was the Great Horned Owl that has now been in the park for three weeks.
I explored the north end of the park today. During a brief rainstorm, I got to photograph a hawk at the eastern side of the North Meadow. Later this same hawk circled the Recreation Center a few times and then gained altitude. It started to get harassed by Chimney Swifts, so it went even higher until it was hard to see. It then dived and quickly moved northwest towards Morningside Park.
On Sunday, I didn't see any of our "regular" hawks in Central Park. Only this adult with lightly colored eyes in the Ramble.
On Shepard Hall at CCNY's northern campus is a nest that frustrates many hawk watchers. It's hard to photograph and very unpredictable. This year it has two of the oldest eyasses in the city. Their parents must have started early.