While looking for owls on Thursday, I found these three baby raccoons. Their tree had been trimmed after a branch had fallen. There mother was inspecting the changes and these three went exploring around their cavity.
The eyasses continue to grow up at the Cathedral. Two of the eyasses have brown feathers on their heads now. They're still a ways from fledging, but they're growing up fast.
I visited Riverside Church after work to see how their pair of Peregrine Falcons were doing. Both were visible, one perched on the northwest corner, and one flying around the church tower when I arrived. I hope this is a sign that their eggs have hatched, but we won't know for a few weeks.
Update: Robert Schmunk saw two nestlings peaking out from the Falcon's scrape on Sunday, June 3rd. So, we'll have fledglings within a few weeks.
The Fordham University Rose Hill campus has a nest on Collins Auditorium. This is the nest location's second year. Both years have been successful with three eyasses last year, and three this year.
The parents have been nicknamed Hawkeye and Rose. Alan Alda is an alumnus of Fordham, so Hawkeye is named after Alan Alda's character on the television program M.A.S.H. Rose, the female is named after the campus.
The campus is a traditional College setting with lawns, gardens and footpaths. The campus is adjacent to Bronx Park, a 718 acre park home to the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens.
The three eyasses and their mother, Rose. These are the fifteen, sixteenth and seventieth eyasses, I've seen in New York City this season. Thanks to all of the individuals, who made visiting these sites possible.
I asked Rob Jett, who has one of the best birding blogs on the Internet, City Birder, if he would give directions to the Prospect Park nest. He said sure, but that he would need to take me in person.
These two eyasses bring the eyasses I've seen in person and photographed to 14 for the season! All on one Metrocard.
|St. John the Divine||3|
|Astoria Park, Queens||2|
|Prospect Park, Brooklyn||2|
Green-Wood commemorated their fallen Civil War soldiers on Memorial Day. They are in the midst of a research and restoration project to provide new tombstones for their Civil War soldiers buried in the Cemetery.
I forgot to take a wide shot of the nest yesterday. It is in the tree in the middle of the photograph. The cemetery welcomes birders, but I was reminded that one should respect the primary purpose of the cemetery. This includes leaving an area, if anyone seems uncomfortable.
I went to Green-Wood Cemetery for the first time on Sunday. It looks like a great place for a Red-tailed Hawk family.
I was able to confirm that we have three chicks at the St. John's site this weekend.
It was a hot day, and only one little window through the leaves is still open to take photographs of part of the Inwood Hill Red-tailed Hawk nest. I only saw one eyas today, but I'm not worried. About two thirds of the nest is now obscured from view. It was a hot afternoon and I suspect the second eyas was keeping cool in the shade.
My second day in Astoria Park started out slow on a hot sunny afternoon. The eyasses were asleep and I couldn't find the parents. I took a walk around the park, and when I returned to the track, the mother was on a lighting fixture.
I tried to track the adult male, but lost him and returned to the nest.
On Thursday, I followed up on a report from Jules Corkery (via Marie Winn's blog) of a new Red-tailed Hawk nest in Astoria Park, on the Triborough Bridge. I can confirm that there are two photogenic eyasses at the site.
The nest is located on the southern side of the Astoria portion of the bridge. The nest is easily accessible via public transportation. Astoria Park site is a short walk from the second to the last stop on the N/W subway line. Except for the stairs up and down the elevated line, it is a nice flat six block walk.
Take the N or W to the Astoria Blvd. stop, exit to Hoyt Avenue South and walk towards the river. At 21st Street is the entrance to Astoria Park, walk in and go to the middle of the tennis courts. Look over to the bridge. You'll see a large concrete structure that anchors the suspension cables. On the right corner below the roadway you'll see the nest on a large drain pipe.
When I first arrived at the nest, I went right under it. Within ten minutes of photographing the nest, a Police Officer threatened to give me a summonses for taking pictures. Under current regulations while on MTA Bridge property, photography is prohibited. I was very near the nest, so I may have been on MTA property when I was threatened with a summons.
However, it seems that photographing the bridge from public property is perfectly legal, so taking pictures from within Astoria Park would be perfectly fine.
The ACLU has a suit against the city pending about ambiguous policies toward photographers. It seems that the department has ambiguous policies which led to the accidental harassment of photographers. I think my situation was similar to the problems birders have been having with scopes on tripods in city parks. It's too bad well meaning Police Officers are stepping over the line, due to ambiguous policies and poor training.
I'm going to be careful while in Astoria and keep my 500mm lens out of sight of the guard station. I understand the paranoia in these post 9/11 times, but I thought we lived in the USA and not the old USSR!
I had a late work meeting, so I could only spend about 30 minutes at the Cathedral. One of the parents was on the Archangel when I arrived, and was soon joined for a few minutes by the other parent. Their backs were turned to me, so it was hard to make a solid identification.
Then one of the eyasses decided to defecate and move around the nest for about five minutes. Other than these two events, the nest was quiet.
If you've been looking at the Queen's Hawkcam, you'll notice that the young are close to fledging. General wisdom is that it take between 42 and 46 days for a hawk to fledge. I've tried to take a guess at what I think the Manhattan hatch dates were and calculated the approximate fledge dates. Of course, the normal "Your mileage may vary" disclaimer applies here.
|Eyasses||Hatch (Best Guess)||+42||+46|
|888 7th Avenue||1||4/29||6/10||6/14|
One thing I'm sure of however, is that I need to spend this Memorial Day weekend visiting Highbridge and Inwood Hill Park before it's too late!
The evening started quietly with the mother on the Archangel, and the nest quiet. Then the father came in and did a feeding with food which was already in the nest. Afterwards the eyasses were full of activity, and at one point it looked like we had three babies in the nest. We'll know for sure in a few days.
I just received a note from Brett Odom updating me on the status of the Seventh Avenue nest...
"Just wanted to give you an update. Everything seems to be fine and the nest is in an ideal location for rainstorms similar to the one we had yesterday since it is protect from all sides. Right now Charlotte is on the nest with the sleeping eyas and Junior is sitting on the Essex sign.
(For those not living in the New York area, yesterday, we had a severe thunderstorm roll through the area. This new nest is full protected from such storms, while the old Central Park South nest would have been completely soaked and exposed high winds.)
The St. John nest has at least two eyasses.
There are two eyasses in this pictures, being feed by their mother. I know it's tough to make them out. I'm sure as they get bigger it will get easier to see that there are two eyasses in the nest. (Of course there could be three, but two is most likely at this point.)
I exit to see the Eastern Screech-Owl fly out in Central Park.
I arrived around 6 p.m. to find both parents off the nest and the nest absolutely quiet. No sign of the eyas(ses) while I was there from about 6 p.m. until about 7:30 p.m.
The father stayed in one spot, about twenty feet from the nest the whole time I was there. The mother shifted spots. First she was on West 110th, then the southeastern Plant building chimney, then the ornament on the Plant building, which we've nicknamed the urn.
The adult female and two eyasses were visible on the nest when I arrived but one eyas was almost fully hidden by a branch. The Red-tailed Hawks seemed very relaxed, and enjoying the warm sunlight on a cool afternoon.
After I had packed up, the adult male arrived and circled the nest. The adult female, then took off and joined him. I lost both adults as they flew north.
Like the Highbridge nest, more and more leaves are in the way of the nest. Future photographs have to be from the path below the nest.
I spent about an hour at the nest on Saturday. I was able to see brief glimpses of the eyas(ses). The nest seems to be one or two inches higher than last year. This is making it much harder to get a clear view.
They'll be getting taller each day, so by next weekend it should be easy to figure out how many kids are in the nest. But for now, we just have to wait.
She then does a brief tour of the area, before landing on the Archangel.
The adult female. She seems to be taking it easy these days. She let the male do the feeding this evening. After laying eggs, sitting on the eggs and then keeping her very young chicks warm, I think she deserves her mini vacation.
The wait is over! At least one eyas is now big enough to show up over the edge of the nest. (If you're interested in visiting the nest, see my post from last year with details about the St. John the Divine nest.)
I've been corresponding with Brett Odom, who has a view of the 888 7th Avenue nest. He confirmed on Monday that there was only one chick in the nest.
Brett asked me about the fledglings and if they would have any problems getting down from such a high floor. I figured out the height of both 888 Seventh Avenue and the former nest on Parc Trump. They're a floor apart! So, if the chicks could do it two years ago, I think we'll be fine this year.
Views of the Highbridge nest are disappearing as the trees leaf out. I almost slid down the steep hill near the nest taking these obscured shots.
Both parents were off the nest as I took these pictures. These may have to be my last pictures of the Highbridge nest this year.
The Inwood Red-tailed Hawk eyasses continue to grow up. Both looked healthy. The adult male left the nest as we arrived and he flew by a few times.
It was a relaxed afternoon, until a feeding when both chicks perked up and became active. The pictures below are of the female and her two offspring.
I've been photographing three Eastern Screech-Owls for about five weeks. As I did last year, I've waited to release these photographs until after the owls had left their nest cavity and are now sleeping in high tree branches.
Despite my fears this winter that there were no Eastern Screech-Owls left in the Central Park, on Monday, not only did I see the three owls I've been studying but also a new adult bringing my count for the day to four.
My 2007 Owl blog entries start here.
At St. John the Divine we know there are babies because of the feeding behavior of the parents, but because of the deep bowl and height of the nest they aren't visible. I keep waiting for one of the eyasses to be strong enough to pop its head up. But it just hasn't happened yet. On Thurdsay, we got to see the parents do feedings, saw both of them off the nest, and saw the male with a mouse. Everything but an eyas!
I've received confirmation that a chick has hatched at 888 Seventh Avenue, so that makes the second building nest to hatch in Manhattan. So the Old School/New School score is tied 2-2.
The report came in from Brett Odom, who reports "This morning Jr. brought a pigeon to the nest and dropped it off. When Charlotte got up to prepare it I got a really good look at most of the empty nest. It looks to me that there is only one chick and no other eggs, but I could be wrong as part of the nest is obscured by a metal strip that connects the two pieces of decorative glass that the nest is behind. The eyas is currently no bigger than a softball, but is very active when not being sit upon."
It looks like the Pale Male and Lola, 5th Avenue nest is yet again unsuccessful this year. Although this is sad news, it shouldn't keep you from watching baby Red-tails. They're all over Manhattan and greater New York. So, make a visit to the other nests. Red-tails nests are all over New York City for your enjoyment!
And if the locations are too remote for you to get to, remember that the NYC Audubon sponsored Queens Red-tailed Hawk camera operates 24/7. It can be accessed from either Jeffrey Kollbrunner's website or from the NYC Audubon website.