There was a young Red-tailed Hawk flying between 100th and 111th Street along Fifth Avenue this afternoon. It was impossible to tell if it was a migrant or a hawk that was born on a nearby nest this spring.
While Chipmunks are common in the surrounding areas, I had never seen one in Central Park until today. I had heard they had returned a few years ago, but never ran across one until today. It was on the eastern slope of the Great Hill.
The condition of the park was mixed after the very early snow storm. The trees still had leaves and the snow was very wet. While some trees had fallen over, most of the damage seemed to be limited to broken branches. The greatest damage was in the southern section of the park.
Update: 10/31/11 - I've received word that the damage is worse than I estimated from my walk in the north.
The park staff is going to be working very hard to clean up the damage and get ready for the New York City Marathon which is next Sunday.
Today was a good day for Grebe watching on the Reservoir. Today, we had both a fairly rare visitor, a Horned Grebe and a more common visitor a Pied-Billed Grebe.
On Saturday, I explored the park looking for raptors. My first was a Merlin falcon on a water tank on top of the Lincoln Correctional Facility on 110th Street. It was chased away by a mob of Crows. Later, I saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk hunting, although it was too fast to photograph. As I ended my walk, I saw the female Red-tailed Hawk, Lima on a 5th Avenue building around 77th Street.
This afternoon, Lima, the female of the Fifth Avenue nest was on the Beresford Apartments and the American Museum of Natural History. On the AMNH, she perched on an ornamental eagle.
While the abundance of birds in the park seemed small, there were surprises. The best for me was a new species of duck for my Central Park list, an American Wigeon.
(The mark on the bird's right rear neck, seemed to either be feathers out of place or an injury rather than a field mark.)
A Barred Owl was found in the Ramble today, most likely the same owl seen the Friday before last. It was fairly active before fly out, flying from branch to branch in a small area. After dark, it moved to trees closer to a large lawn. I was able to track it for about 45 minutes after fly out.
I was hoping to hear a few calls, but the owl was absolutely quiet.
Today I got some great looks at Pale Male and Lima. With the kids gone, they seem to be having fun having time together.
Somtimes Pale Male is in plain sight. Tonight, he hunted and ate, both a bird and a rodent, in under an hour around 79th Street and Fifth Avenue. He made it easy to take his portrait.
Lima was on a Fifth Avenue building around 77th Street this evening. After sunset she appeared to fly to a tree she had used as a roost in late March.
There were no signs of the lighter chested youngster this evening, and many hawk watchers wonder if it has left home.
I've been out of town, but have returned and I was able to spend a few hours in Central Park this afternoon. Here are some pictures of a very shy Yellow-breasted Chat who was the highlight of my afternoon.