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