When you have a large lens on a tripod, everyone wants to ask you questions for some reason. Today, I was interrupted about fifty times while photographing the nest, despite wearing a N.Y.F.D. T-shirt which has the slogan "Keep Back 200 Feet" on it. It amazes me how the sight of a working photographer, doesn't make people think that they should be careful not to interrupt, but has them lose all impulse control and ask loudly "Who are you photographing? Is it someone important?"
What was interesting was how the interrupting individuals, with only "NY Post" knowledge of the nest, kept trying to impress their friends and me with their knowledge (or in most cases their lack of knowledge) of the nest. They would talk about celebrities who have moved away long ago, or would claim the nest had eagles or falcons. It was amazing how many people just couldn't take a few minutes to look through the spotting scopes that were set up and experience the nest first hand, and get an update of what's happening this year.
However something wonderful made up for all of the interruptions on Saturday. The old timers of the "hawk bench" were so excited to be observing new things again. (They were also remembering old times, departed friends and the old habits of Pale Male too. But the new observations were what was making everyone happy.)
One of the joys of watching hawks in an urban area is how easy it is to make observations. In a rural area, a hawk would never let you too close. But in New York City, with hawks out in the open and acclimated to humans, we get to see their secrets.
Lima, who may be a first time mother, certainly isn't Lola. The post-cradle nest has eyasses for the first time. The hatching time is weeks later than normal. All of these changes are making the 2011 season something special.
One observation that was shared with me was how Lima doesn't seem to be that thrilled with Pale Male hanging around the nest. If he lingers too long on the north side of the nest, she sometimes comes over and gives him a little hip bump to move him along. It doesn't seem as though she's communicating get lost, but more a message that she has things under control, damn it! Great observation, members of the bench!
So, here's some advice. If you want to fit in at the "hawk bench", don't worry about what was. Worry about what's new. Three out of four of the hawks are just that this year.
It does look like the number of eyasses this year is two. They both can be seen eating together in the video.