Christo was the star of my day. I first saw him copulating twice with Nora on 90 Baruch Drive and then later in the day in Tompkins Square Park. It's going to be an interesting spring! (But we should all be prepared for things to go wrong. This is a very unusual situation!)
The story of Dora's return is getting more interesting.
Due to a WPIX newscast about an apartment needing repair, we've learned of the location of what seems to be Christo and Nora's (Dora's replacement while she was in rehab) nest. It is on an air conditioner on the west façade of 90 Baruch Drive (which is also marked 80 Baruch Drive for reasons only known to the NYC Housing Authority) on the tenth floor. The nest only seems to have just been started and seems to need more work. The new nest is about ten blocks southeast of Tompkins Square Park.
We saw Nora eat lunch on a building just opposite the nest in the early afternoon and had glimpses of another hawk, presumably Christo. Hawk watchers reported seeing them copulate on Friday.
Mid-afternoon a group of us shifted our hawk watching to Tompkins Square Park, where we found Christo and Dora in the same tree. Dora made a loop of the park, and joined a Cooper's Hawk in a tree for a few minutes. Reports came in after I left the park, that Christo and Dora copulated.
I think we'll need some good photographs to know for sure that Christo is trying to support both females, but it sure looks like it.
Just before I arrived in Tompkins Square Park, Christo had caught a pigeon in the park. Hawk watchers had expected him to give it to Dora but he left the park with it. Where he went and where Nora is has been a mystery the last few days.
Then Dora flew to the top of the Christodora building, flew along Avenue B, and ended up hunting and eating on the school ruins east of the Christodora. After a rooftop visit at 10th Street, she looked like she was going to roost below 7th. And just before dusk Christo made a visit to the nest.
Dora seems to be doing fine after being returned to Tompkins Square Park. She was sitting in this year's nest when I arrived and then went after two crows and possibly a juvenile hawk. She ended up roosting on a fire escape for the night.
Christo was seen briefly and circled over Avenue C and 6th Street for a bit. It is unclear what he's going to do about choosing between Dora and Nora (or if he will choose both).
You'll see in the photographs and video Dora's droopy left wing. She seems to be flying well and the wing issue does not seem to be causing here any real issues.
Dora, the female of the Tompkins Square Park nest has been returned to the park by the Horvaths (NYC's great Rehabilitators). She had been in their care for about three months.
I caught up with her after work this evening. Christo, the male, has already found a replacement mate, who the locals have been calling Nora. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few days. It may end up being something of a soap opera.
Hints of spring are in the air. The park has some Snowdrops and Forsythia in bloom and the city's Red-tails have begun to copulate. Today, I caught up with a Cooper's Hawk, and both of the Fifth Avenue Hawks, Octavia and Pale Male.
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.
The surprise of the day was a Red-throated Loon on the reservoir this afternoon. About two thirds of the reservoir is still covered with ice, so the Loon was closer to the shoreline than normal making for great looks.
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.
Both Pale Male and Octavia are doing just fine in the cold. Both have been spotted numerous times over the long weekend. I got a few pictures of Pale Male on Saturday. Today, the hawk of my visit was a young hawk in the area of the Ramble called The Oven. This bird didn't get any not respect from numerous Squirrels and Blue Jays.
This winter Snowy Owls have been spotted along the sea coast of New York City and Long Island this winter. I love watching them from a distance. If you are interested in seeing a Snowy Owl, read up on the special care needed to watch these great birds before you go out to see one.
I was worried about this owl getting disturbed by people, but it and two other owls nearby managed to get spooked by a large four engine jet coming in low to land at JFK.
Pale Male and Octavia spent the late afternoon around Cedar Hill and the playground at 77th Street and Fifth Avenue. Pale Male was hunting halfheartedly and Octavia was keeping an eye on Pale Male. Both chased a Sharp-shinned Hawk at dusk. It was nice to get good looks at both of them, especially the shy Octavia.
Central Park was beautiful this afternoon. The snow covered trees and lawns but there wasn't enough snow to block any of the roads or paths. When I arrived a Red-tailed Hawk was chasing a small Accipiter, which I struggled to decide whether it was a Sharp-shinned Hawk or Cooper's Hawk. Later in the afternoon, Pale Male was in a tree near the 79th Street transverse.
Just in time for Halloween, Central Park had a bright moon, a bat and a Great Horned Owl this evening. I think it may be an old visitor, as it flew out to a favorite post fly out perch of the owl from two years ago.
When I found Pale Male this afternoon, he was sharing a perch with his mate Octavia. She quickly left and he stayed in the same general area for a few more hours. He looked to be interested in a late afternoon snack but only made one hunting attempt which came up empty. He left the area and looks to have switched to a roosting spot he uses in the late fall and winter. Other than this it was very much like it has been for the last month or so.
We finally are starting to get some fall temperatures and tree leaves are changing colors. Pale Male has become harder to find, but he went to Cedar Hill late in the afternoon, after chasing away a migrating raptor. He hunted two times, but came up empty on both passes.