On Sunday, I had a relaxed day of birding. Here are the highlights of my day.
On a quiet Saturday morning in the Ramble, I got another new bird for my Central Park list, a Warbling Vireo.
A spring migrant, a summer breeder and a year round-inhabitant...
An Eastern Screech-Owl which may very well be the surviving West Drive owl from this winter. (See http://urbanhawks.blogs.com/owls for details.)
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Until today watching the Central Park South Hawks nesting from the street has been like watching paint dry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I arrived in the early evening just as Pale Male had arrived to give Lola a break.
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.
With Junior giving Charlotte a break midday, it's very quiet looking at the nest in the late afternoon/early evening.
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.
A sure sign of Spring are the almost fluorescent white and yellow colors that have replaced the dull white and yellow colors of a few weeks earlier on the park's White-throated Sparrows.
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.