Fall has arrived and we're seeing Juvenile Red-tailed Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and Cooper's Hawks in the park in good numbers now. This juvenile was seen along with four other hawks in the northern portion of Central Park last Saturday.
A young Adult Red-tailed Hawk was hanging around the Evodia Field in Central Park's Ramble on Tuesday afternoon. As fall migration heats up, we should see more and more visitors in Central Park. A Northern Flicker, American Robins and a Gray Squirrel can be heard on the video's soundtrack.
I made a trip to Randalls Island on Sunday afternoon. The nest is in the field lights of Field 10, just north of Icahn Stadium. I found two eyasses on the nest and the mother on a light tower of Icahn Stadium.
The new nest in Fort Washington Park, may be a replacement for the J. Hood Wright nest. It's right next to Henry Hudson Parkway, so it will be interesting to see how the fledglings do. It has the benefit of a no-man's land between the Parkway and the railroad tracks, but also the danger. I saw the female on the nest and the male, who chased out a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.
Randalls Island has had a nest in the lights of Field 10 just north of Icahn Stadium for a number of years. When there were Peregrine Falcons on the hospital, I think we skipped a year, but otherwise the pair has breed consistently over the last few years.
This year was no exception. The female was on the nest and in the warm sun left the eggs for a few minutes to take a stretch.
On Thursday afternoon a young Red-tailed Hawk was eating a squirrel on a rock south of the Azalea Pond in Central Park's Ramble. It is an interesting bird with one red tail feather. We usually see the brown tail feathers of a juvenile change one by one over the summer to adult red feathers, so this one red feather is unusual.
Title says it all, "Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk Eats A Norway Rat". Just south of Trump Ice Skating Rink. Like many young hawks, this one dropped his rat while eating it.
As the title says, "Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk Eats A Tuffted Titmouse". Viewer beware. (The video is without audio as there was a middle school class watching the Red-tailed Hawk eat.)
Thursday, I searched the park hoping to find a Saw-whet Owl but came up empty. However, I did get nice looks at a Red-tailed Hawk in the West Pinetum of Central Park.
A young Red-tailed Hawk was eating a small bird on the roof of the building at 105th and Fifth Avenue as I was leaving the Conservatory Gardens of Central Park on Wednesday.
On Wednesday evening a hawk was on the NE flagpole of the Plaza Hotel. I've been seeing this hawk a great deal recently, but other than seeing it around The Pond I don't know much about it.
I stopped by Central Park's Pond on my way home. The Pond is located just north of the Plaza Hotel at the south east end of the park. The usual suspects were there, including a Wood Duck, a Black-crowned Night Heron, Mallards and Canada Geese, plus the hundreds of Common Grackles coming home to roost in the trees surrounding the Pulitzer Fountain of Grand Army Plaza.
What I didn't expect to find were two Eastern-Red Bats feeding at around 6 p.m. Usually, I need to rely on my Echo Meter Touch to identify my bats, but these were clearly Eastern-Red Bats just by watching them. I did my best to get some pictures without flash in the low light.
After sunset, a Red-tailed Hawk flew around the Pond and the buildings on Central Park South. I suspect one of the adults we saw bringing nesting materials to Crown Building earlier this year. These hawks continue to be a mystery, but it was good to see they're still around.
I finally had time to go out to Randalls Island and see this year's nest. There seem to be two eyasses this year. The nest is in the lights of Field 10, just north of the stadium.
On the fourth floor level of the fire escape on a building on the northwest corner of 96th and Lexington Avenue, there is a new hawk nest. The female was brooding when I arrived and the male was briefly on a water tank before flying out of view. I stayed until after sunset, but didn't see a nest exchange between the two hawks.
On Saturday afternoon, I walked for about five miles through Central Park. I was able to add three more birds to my 2018 Manhattan list, a Ring-Necked Duck (female at the North Gate House of the Reservoir), a Great Cormorant (on the dike in the middle of the Reservoir, a rare visitor to Central Park, but seen frequently off Randalls Island in the winter) and an immature Cooper's Hawk.
The Cooper's Hawk was exploring the Loch, a waterway with three waterfalls that flows under the Glen Span and Huddlestone arches from The Pool to the Harlem Meer. It has recently been restored by the Central Park Conservancy. The restoration carefully reshaped the waterway, to provide a mix of currents and depths designed to maximize biodiversity, with the help of a environmental consulting company. Improved landscaping was also added to minimize erosion and run offs from the North Meadow Ball Fields. I'm looking forward to seeing the biodiversity results in a few years.
I started my raptor watching in the North Woods and then worked my way around the reservoir. My first raptor was a Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk at the Wildflower meadow, who then flew around the Compost Heap. Then it was off to the reservoir, where a Peregrine Falcon has been seen for the last few days near the North Gate House. Then after looking at the nice selection of waterfowl using the open areas of reservoir, I ran into two adult hawks at the South Gate House. By then it was too dark to I.D. the hawks, but it looked like one of them was an intruder and the other was either Pale Male or Octavia.
I finally had a chance to get up to J. Hood Wright Park and found the mother doing her best to keep her eyasses out of the sun. After the sun got lower, she took a break. The nest has three eyasses this year.
Our Central Park West Pair, who last year lost an egg from the San Remo, are bringing twigs to the building again. They haven't done well at nesting over the last few years, so my expectations are limited for this pair.
I finally got up to CCNY to find two hawks hanging out and not brooding. What was interesting was one was young, less than a year old, with a brown tail. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this nest in 2017 or if we'll need to wait until 2018?
I got a text from Ranger Rob Mastrianni today saying that the J. Hood Wright Park nest had four eyasses in their nest. That's very, very rare. So, I took the A train up to 175th Street and took a look this evening. I got to see all four of them. It's a good thing I went today, since one of them looks ready to leave nest.
I love these surprises. When the eyasses were younger most folks could only tell that there were one or two eyasses on the nest.