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Lesser Scaup

The light wasn't that great at 7:00 p.m. but I got my first photographs of a Lesser Scaup on Wednesday.  The 117th bird species I've photographed, and the 131st I've seen in Central Park.

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Female on left, two males on the right.

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Sunday After The Rain

Sunday afternoon the rain finally let up for a bit.  The light was difficult and I missed getting a photograph of a Yellow Warbler up in the North Woods.

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A juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron on the island on the Harlem Meer (a body of water at the NE corner of the park).

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A Yellow-rumped Warbler in the Ramble.

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A Palm Warbler in the Ramble.

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Lola on Fifth Avenue still sitting on her nest.

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Charlotte on the Hampshire House on Central Park South.


Doing The Math On Central Park South

Doing the math, I'm concerned about the Trump Parc nest.  Given when the first egg was discovered and padding very generously for delayed incubation and hatching this is the time line:

First egg discovered, March 13
Possible delay of incubation, add 2 days, March 15
Incubation takes 28-35 Days, add 35 days, April 19
Hatching, up to 4 days, add 4 days, April 23

This is the most generous timeline I can create, 41 days.  Given that no one has seen chicks yet, I think we should prepare ourselves for a negative outcome with this first set of eggs.

It rained most of the day in New York City on Saturday. The photographs below are from Saturday afternoon between 1:45 and 2:45 during a break in the weather. 

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Charlotte on the NE roof edge of the Hampshire House.

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Charlotte on the roof of 116 Central Park West, which was a construction site last year.

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Charlotte back on Hampshire House.

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Leaving...

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...to return to...

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...the nest.

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Junior appears from the back of the nest...

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...and quickly flies off.  Charlotte then rapidly moves to the back of the nest and settles in.


Watching Paint Dry

Friday, it was back to dull evening behavior.  (I wonder if the flurry of activity on Thursday was due to the unseasonably warm weather with temperatures in the 80s.)

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Charlotte remained on the nest most of the late afternoon, early evening only showing herself for a few minutes.

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We found Junior on the upper right edge of the Essex House sign as we left the park.


Central Park South Change Of Pace

Until today watching the Central Park South Hawks nesting from the street has been like watching paint dry. 

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5:45 p,m - Empty Nest.

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5:47 p.m. A light colored head appears.  What's Junior (the male) doing on the nest?

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6:00-6:15 p.m. After some movement around the nest he looks like he's trying to cool off a bit.  Not your typical egg sitting behavior. 

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6:15 p.m. Charlotte returns with a gray squirrel.  Unusual behavior, since Junior has spent the last month feeding her.

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6:17 Junior leaves the nest.

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6:18 He quickly returns.  Charlotte is in the back of the nest out of sight.

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6:23  After both disappearing to the back of the nest, they both reappear.  Junior then takes off for the evening.

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6:30-7:00 p.m. Charlotte spends a lot of time out of sight, but also spends a lot of time at the edge of nest.

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7:40 She settles down for the evening.

All of these behavior changes could be a sign that the eggs have hatched or are about to.  We'll know the answer in a few days.

Update: I received an email from Ben Cacace who was digiscoping (using a digital camera with a telescope) from a nearby hotel at the same time I was photographing from the street.  From the higher view, there appeared to be an egg in the nest.  So, we'll need to wait a bit before passing out the cigars.


Young Raccoon Near The Hawk Bench

A young raccoon is living near the hawk bench and appears every evening around dusk.  As night falls, many of the hawk watchers are now making a stop to look at him/her as they leave the park for the evening.

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Lola Goes Into Overtime

I'm late, I'm late
For a very important date
No time to say "Hello", "Goodbye"
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late

I run and then I hop hop hop. I wish that I could fly. There’s danger if I dare to stop, and here’s the reason why

You see, I’m overdue, I’m in a rabbit stew. Can’t even say goodbye, hello
I’m late, I’m late, I’m late

Lyrics from I'm Late from Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

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Lola has been sitting on her nest longer than any successful year.  In years past she has sat on the nest anywhere between 35-41 days before her eggs hatched.  This could be a sign of another failure, or just a fluke.   Since the Fifth Avenue hawk watchers can't tell when eggs are laid, they count from when the female starts to stay on the nest.  It's possible, especially with a recently rebuilt nest, that she just started sitting on the nest without eggs earlier and all is fine.


Kestrel Kamikazi

A little after 7 p.m. on Sunday, a Kestrel decided to give Pale Male a hard time.  In years past, crows would have been the major pest, but the crow population has been decimated by the West Nile Virus and there are now very few in the park.

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Expecting Parents

The Fifth Avenue nest had hundreds of observers on Saturday.  Many first time watchers stumbled onto the "hawk bench" while taking part in Easter activities in the park.  (The "hawk  bench" has great view of the nest, which during this season has lots of telescopes, including a power Meade telescope connected to a video camera/monitor generously provided by Lincoln Karim, www.palemale.com.)

Old timers were there looking to see if the chicks had hatched yet.  The old timers have reasonable concerns since last year's eggs failed to hatch. 

Pale Male (the male Red-tailed Hawk) has a history of his first year nests failing, so after the nest was removed in the early winter of 2004/5, it was not surprising that the 2005 nest failed.  Whether the nest was too small to keep the eggs insulated, the stress of building a new nest or possible punctures by the pigeon spikes in the nest are all possible reasons for first year failures.

The new nest cradle, added as a compromise over safety, might also be a problem.  So, all eyes are on the nest.  The hatching window is anytime in the next week or so.  Hopefully, good news will be reported soon.

When I arrived in the late afternoon, Lola (the female, nesting Red-tailed Hawk), was very active.

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Lola is very alert as a Kestrel circles above the nest.

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Pale Male escorts the pesky Kestrel away.  During the afternoon, other interlopers include two Turkey Vultures, a Peregrine Falcon and possibly a Northern Harrier.

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Pale Male settles on a building four blocks north.

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I hadn't seen it while I was photographing, but there is a Gray Squirell on the corner of the ledge.

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The squirell gets picked up and taken to the nest.

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Pale Male delivers the meal to Lola.   He's on the left.  Red-tailed males are usually a third smaller than females and this is clearly shown here.

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Lola takes it...

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...flies off...

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...lands on the same building Pale Male was on...

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...earlier...

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...and eats dinner.

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After eating, she does some flying...

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...up and down 5th Avenue...

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...while Pale Male sits on her eggs.

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She then lands on a building five blocks north of the nest.


5th Avenue Nest

I arrived in the early evening just as Pale Male had arrived to give Lola a break.

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Pale Male barely visible settled down in the nest.

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Lola has headed far north.

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Lola returns to the nest.

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What were they doing?

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Pale Male flies off the nest.

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And then north, out of sight.


Spring Birds

Now that Spring has arrived and Daylight Savings time has started, it's possible to some real birding after work.

Here are some birds from Monday evening.

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Palm Warbler

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Palm Warbler backside

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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Northern Flicker

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Brown Creeper with insect


All Quiet On The Southern Front

With Junior giving Charlotte a break midday, it's very quiet looking at the nest in the late afternoon/early evening.

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Looking up at the nest from the "Little Hill" (the small hill between 6th and 7th Avenues just north of the Essex House just inside the park), one can't see any activity in the late afternoon.  You might even think the nest was empty.

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But Charlotte is safely tucked in at the back of the nest keeping her eggs warm.

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The sun is still low in April, so for the most part the nest is in shadows much of the late afternoon.

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The nest has fresh twigs, some of which are budding.

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Although the trees still have a ways to go, green is replacing brown as the dominant color in the park.

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Note that the Beresford, Pale Male and Lola's west side perch has a view of Junior and Charlotte's nest.

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When the sun peaks through the office towers, the gray of the nest's building turns a wonderful golden color.

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It was cold up there, about 40 degrees with high wind gusts.

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Day turns to dusk and the lights go on in the park and the George Washington Bridge.

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Charlotte is all tucked in for the evening.  The bright lights on the lower left are from the gardens of Tavern on the Green, a popular restaurant and hunting area for Junior.


North Woods Eastern Screech-Owl

The North Woods Eastern Screech-Owl, which I discovered this winter when the Great Horned Owl was around, seems to be doing just fine.

These pictures are from Friday, March 31st.  They are all taken with natural light.

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