Saturday in Central Park
Brunch in Washington Square

Pelham Bay Park Landfill

Sunday, I spent mid-day in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx.  It's at the end of the 6 Subway Line, which is an easy but long ride from Manhattan. Long Island Sound basically ends at the park, which makes it a perfect magnet for birds migrating from New England.

Once a year, the Urban Park Rangers lead a hawk watching tour of the landfill which is normally closed to visitors.  This year's tour ended up being a perfect day for hawk watching.  The weather was nice, and the wind was steady and from a northwesterly direction.  We ended up having hawks in view the entire time we were on the landfill, which is highly unusual.  Needless to say, I had a great time.

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The view from the top of the Landfill.

The landfill is a large hill.  It is the highest point in the area giving us a great view, plus it creates updrafts for the hawks and falcons.

We ended up seeing many Red-tailed Hawks (seven were in the air at once), American Kestrels (at least four), Northern Harriers (at least two), Osprey (two, not photographed) and one possible Sharp-shinned hawk.

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Red-tailed Hawks

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Red-tailed Hawk and aircraft.

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Red-tailed Hawk hovering.

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There were at least two American Kestrel pairs on the landfill.  Two were seen on the barb-wire cages that surround the methane gas vents.  Needless to say the fences have large signs saying "No Smoking".

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American Kestrel

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American Kestrel Hovering.

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American Kestrel Hovering.

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American Kestrel Hovering.

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American Kestrel Hovering.

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Immature North Harrier

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My guess is that this is an accipiter.  Based on the size, it is was likely to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk but this is only a guess.

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Reverse view of the same unidentified hawk.

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As we were leaving the landfill I commented how nice it would be if a hawk landed on the Bronx Victory Memorial.  A few minutes later my wish came true!

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As we returned to the Ranger Station, a juvenile Red-tailed hawk landed on a tree 15 feet from the station.

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I was able to follow it for about an hour.  It hunted along the edge of the highway, in a playground, and on top of a stadium light.  The hunting attempts weren't successful, but I think the young hawk was practicing rather than giving it the full effort.

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A scratch

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It moved from tree to tree making a hunting attempt each time.

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Here it is in a bush after trying for a mouse in a playground.

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It then went after the Monk Parakeets of Pelham Bay Park, which use the stadium lights of the running track.


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The Monk Parakeets were safely one stadium light tower away from the hawk.  But they sure made a racket.


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The hawk takes a few looks, moves around a bit and then flies away.

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Circling to gain height.

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And within minutes is gone from view.

I returned to Manhattan with a detour into Central Park, where I found...

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... Lola on the Beresford...

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...and Pale Male was in a new spot near his regular roosting tree.

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