Friday, June 24, 2005

Seeing planets at night and by day

Ben Cacace, a regular Central Park birdwatcher and amateur astronomer, writes:
It was good to see so many people last night (June
23rd) at the north end of the Great Lawn. Showing up
with equipment were Rik, TomC, Peter, Marie, myself
and a few others. Many people stopped by to view the 3
planet conjuction and Jupiter. At 3:50pm yesterday
afternoon I set up the scope to view the planets in
daylight and succeeded in seeing Venus (very bright)
and Mercury (difficult to see since you had to be
looking directly at the planet to pick it up). When I
moved away from the eyepiece it took a minute or 2 to
relocate Mercury. Saturn was not seen until 6 minutes
before sunset which is technically not a daylight
observation IMHO.

Re: Closest approach of Venus & Mercury: I will be at
the north end of the Great Lawn in Central Park, which
is roughly around 84th St., on Monday the 27th of June
for the closest approach of Venus / Mercury. I should
be there around 10:30-11:00am. See map of park:

Minimum angular distance between Venus and Mercury (as
Richard notes) is at noon (12:01pm) on June/27th with
an angular separation of 3.9 arc minutes.

Date (EDT) / Separation
2005 Jun 27 12:01pm / 03' 53"

Just for comparison the separation of the naked eye
double star in the bend of the handle of the Big
Dipper (Mizar and Alcor) is close to 12 arc minutes!

At sunset on the 27th of June the Venus / Mercury
separation will be 7.5 arc minutes.

See you soon.


Charlotte Got Wet: observation by John Blakeman

Photo by Lincoln Karim
Junior taking off, Charlotte [with wet legs] feeding babies


In Lincoln's photos posted yesterday of Charlotte landing and feeding at the nest ledge, it is apparent that she got her legs wet. The trailing feathers of her legs are compressed and soggy.

I don't think she took a bath, which would have gotten all of her feathers wet. She may have dipped into a pond, osprey-like, trying to catch a fish at the surface. We found a good number of fish remains in Ohio red-tail nests. A big goldfish that lingers at the surface of a Central Park pond would be a nice culinary diversion for the eyasses.
Whatever happened, Charlotte came to the nest with wet legs.


John A. Blakeman

Pale Male and Lola at the Beresford

6/23/05 -- From Central Park Regular Jack Meyer:

This morning [6/23/05] we saw two Red-tails on the
Beresford. We were at the east end of Turtle Pond, too far to ID
individuals. At first they were shifting from one pinnacle to the other,
then we saw one in the air being chased by a Kestrel. This was around 10:30
AM. Note that Art Lemoine (sp?) told Mary the other day that there was a
Kestrel nesting in the park at about 86 St. Were the Red-tails upsetting it?

My answer to Jack's question of whether red-tails hanging around in a kestrel's nesting territory were upsetting it:

You bet!

Donna's Field Notes

Field Notes 6-23-05
Trump Parc Nest

Sunset 8:33PM (NYT),
Temp. 77F,
Humidity 39%,
Wind WSW 6MPH,
UV very high,
Prey Tally-pigeon, small rat.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
Observations from Little Hill.
6:27 Charlotte on nest standing head to wall near
edge. Eyass head visible under her breast, sheltering
in shadow, all pant. Pale Male Jr. ?
6:34 Eyass comes out from under Charlotte to slightly
N of her, remains visible.
6:37 Charlotte beak down, preening motions, eyass
being preened, jerks up into sight.
6:45 Charlotte mantles.
6:50 Eyasses out of sight.
6:52 Charlotte center, eyass visible half way to wall,
on N side.
6:55 Charlotte stares at Little Hill, then surveys
6:58 Dark purplish Butterfly with grey edge, top of
wing, flutters around Little Hill.
7:03 Eyass back under Charlotte.
7:12 Charlotte very alert to NW Park.
7:18 Charlotte preens.
7:19 Charlotte preens eyass' back, she flops her wings
and lurches up.
7:20 Charlotte Alert, scans all areas.
7:29 Junior flies in from the Park to behind
scaffolding then ?.

Observations from apartment window, 35th floor, on the
same wall and same level as nest, approx. twenty feet
7:59 Charlotte W center of nest, eyasses both in
broadest section of corbel, looking around some inches
from each other.
8:00 Charlotte looks at us, registers, goes back to
tending eyasses, no negative response.
8:01 Junior to N edge of nest carrying small rat in
his beak, eyasses make cheep, cheep,cheep
vocalizations. Charlotte makes a two toned quiet
staccato sound with a full beat in between them.
Junior gives small rat to eyass on N side of nest,
beak to beak. Junior looks at us, registers. Looks at
eyasses. Junior off nest. Eyass attempts to swallow
rat whole, much swallowing on the eyasses part but the
rat no longer is moving down her throat. Pause.
Charlotte pulls the rat out of the eyass and places it
in front of eyass. During this activity, the second
eyass is facing S, with neck compressed. First eyass
beaks rat but no progress, some uncoordinated attempts
at using feet, doesn't have puncture/rip move.
Charlotte waits. Charlotte takes rat, holds it down
with her talons and prepares prey. First bite to eyass
one , second bite to eyass two, who has turned around
but not moved forward when Charlotte began ripping
prey. Eyass one then gets three or four bites, eyass
two moves toward Charlotte for bites.
8:06 Leave window.
Observation from Little Hill
8:18 Eyasses crawl under Charlotte.
8:26 Charlotte on nest S of center.
8:34 Exit.
Submitted-Donna Browne

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Planetary excitement

Yesterday [6/22] as I was heading home a little after sunset, walking westward, -- as I came to West End Ave and 91st Street, the very place where I enjoyed a perfect view of comet Hale-Bopp quite a few years ago, I saw Venus in the south west, shining very VERY brightly. With my 8 X 42 binoculars I could see another planet, much fainter, almost at the western horizon. Must have been Saturn. I believe I caught the tail end of the conjunction! That's why I've emphasized the last sentence of Kentaurian's report below. You don't have to be in a special place to see this event. You can be just about anywhere.

Kentaurian writes at about 2:30 today [Thursday]:

A small group of people have already been gathering in Central Park at Turtle Pond and the walkway around the Great Lawn trying to see the three planets Saturn, Venus and Mercury just before, during and after sunset; also to watch the Moon Rise.

Just look for a group of people with binoculars or telescope -or- you can also do it yourself from anywhere you happen to be.

Astronomy news

Many Central Park nature lovers will be in the park tonight at sunset, and for the next few nights, to see an astronomical event -- the conjunction of 3 planets in the western sky.

Below, from the Amateur Astronomers of America website:

June 2005


Venus finally comes into good view in the evening sky this month, and becomes the centerpiece of a magnificent tableau. While Venus gets higher each night, Saturn slowly descends to meet her. One suitor is not enough -- Mercury rushes to snare her from below! We are treated to this celestial ménage à trois beginning around June 10th and lasting the remainder of the month. Although Saturn then leaves the scene, Mercury pays court into July. The nearby bright stars Castor and Pollux join us as spectators. Venus will easily be seen throughout; binoculars will help find the other participants.

Trump Parc baby development: Q & A with Blakeman

Questions from Mai Stewart, and John Blakeman's answers

I noticed in the photo of Pale Male Jr. + eyasses on today's [6/22] website that the eyasses both have their mouths open, and their tongues also are visible -- I wondered if you have any thoughts as to what's going on -- i.e., are they panting, or eating (?), or maybe chirping, i.e., telling dad they're hungry? There seems to be some prey (?) in the foreground.

Also, do you think that's a feather/s in PMJ's mouth -- or some food for the kids?

Blakeman replies:

Re: today's website pix of PMJ w/ eyasses


I saw the open mouths, too. The eyasses are being fed, and they will spend a lot of time with their mouths open. The open mouths prompt the parent to pick off some more food and try to drop it into the open mouth.

But all of that will change soon, as the eyasses mature and begin to start grabbing food with both their bills and feet. Soon, they will start tearing apart the food items on their own. Notice that they are starting to stand a bit taller. You can't see it from the camera angle below, but the legs are getting stronger and they will start to sit up on them soon, if not already.

The eyasses are just about to leave the weak, downy stage. Dark flight feathers are beginning to appear at the back edges of the wings, and the body coverts, the smaller feathers covering the body, will soon start to emerge. The birds will grow now at a remarkable rate. They are now able to maintain consistent body temperatures and their digestive systems are running at full throttle.

In the photo, Charlotte indeed has a feather in her bill. It looks to be a pigeon feather, and those things are light and easily stick to flesh being plucked for the eyasses. At the beginning, the parents are diligent in offering only raw flesh tidbits to the little eyasses. But as they mature, as we've seen here, more and more feathers and fur are included. At first, the digestive systems of the little hawks don't handle the fur or feathers well, as they can't easily cough up the ball of fear or feathers from the stomach. Later, as the digestive systems mature, the stomach rolls the feathers into a ball and this is coughed up each day. The expelled pellet or "casting" (the proper term), apparently helps clear mucus or other debris from the stomach and crop.

Falcons in particular require casting material, as falconers have known for centuries. A falcon that is fed only raw meat, with no feathers or fur, will sooner or later become ill or unsettled.

Adult red-tails don't seem to require casting materials for health. But virtually all red-tail foods have them, and the birds expel their castings each morning before going out to hunt. A bit of the loafing the adults do each morning involves the creating and movement of the casting to the mouth. They usually prefer to expel the casting before flying off to seriously hunt.

Biologists love to find fresh hawk or owl castings, as we can pull apart the material and know with absolute certainly what the bird had to eat the previous day. The castings of the Central Park hawks will be mostly pigeon feathers and rat fur, the undigested residue of yesterday's meals.

Of course, the castings of owls also contain the bones of previous meals. Hawks, falcons, and eagles easily digest bones. Seldom is even the smallest fragment of a bone ever found in a hawk casting. But owls have a very different digestive process, and they can only digest muscle. Bones and fur get coughed up, again revealing all that has been eaten.

By the way, as offensive as castings might seem, they are not a health hazard. The powerful digestive enzymes of the stomach destroy virtually all bacteria, certainly any human pathogens. The casting material never even gets into the intestine of the hawk. It stays up in the stomach and crop, so it contains no fecal matter whatsoever. A hawk casting on a Central Park sidewalk presents no health hazard whatsoever (contrasted with the several piles of doggy droppings deposited each day in the Park). A hawk casting is just a rolled-up ball of fur or feathers, nothing more.

Our little eyasses will soon vomit up their first castings, a very significant right of passage that parallels all the other features of growth we getting to watch.


John A. Blakeman

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Questions about the Trump Parc nest & Blakeman's answers


Photo by Lincoln Karim
June 21, 2005

Mai Stewart sent John Blakeman some questions and then e-mailed me his answers:

Question 1:
I've noticed how much higher above ground Jr.'s nest seems to be than PM's at 927 5th Avenue. Will this be dangerous for the baby hawks when they begin to fledge? If they have trouble on their first flights, could they possibly fall to the ground, a much longer way down than from 927, and could disaster ensue?

Or, on the other hand, might being so high be an advantage, since if they do have some difficulty flying initially, they'll have more height and space in which to recover and find their wings, so to speak?

Blakeman answers:
Your concerns about the height of the Trump Parc nest paralleled my original concerns about the height of the 927 nest. Both are way too high, compared to typical tree nests. But only because it takes so much energy to fly food and sticks way up there. For an eyass about to fledge, the height is a distinct advantage. When the birds take off for the first time, the just sort of set their wings and start flapping. Many of them just stagger clumsily to the ground when launched from low nests in smaller trees. The stratospheric elevations of the CP nests are an advantage, as the young birds will have a lot of soaring and flapping time before hitting the ground on their first flights. Not a problem, an advantage.

Question 2:
I've been amazed by the fact that the hawks eat feathers -- I didn't even think there was any nutritional value in feathers -- or are there bones in there, holding everything together? And I was really surprised to read in Donna Browne's notes that an eyass ate a pigeon foot "handily" -- I thought their feet were only something like cartilege -- is this nutritional?

Blakeman replies:
Yes, the birds eat feathers. But they provide no energy whatsoever. They go undigested and are coughed up in the following day's "casting" or pellet. The adults have learned that pigeons have a zillion feathers, and it can take all afternoon to sit up on a perch and try to pluck the feathers before offering naked tidbits of meat to the eyasses. The most efficient way to clean to food is to simply gobble down the beakfuls of feathers. That's what was seen. They only swallow the smaller body feathers. The flight feathers are too stiff and they are cast aside.

Question 3:
[This was missing from Mai's e-mail, but I've reconstructed the obvious question]: Can a parent redtail pick up a chick wandering too near to the edge of the nest and carry it back to a safer center area?

JB responds:
No, the parents have very little ability or prompts to pick up the wondering eyasses and scoot them back to the middle of the nest. They never, ever pick them, neither with their bills or feet. The parents seem rather oblivious to the impending loss of an eyass over the side.

After one goes down, the parents will often feed the little bird, prompted probably by its calls. But they don't take the eyass back to the nest, even though they are physically capable of that for the first 10 to 14 days or more.
One of the problems with carrying around a little eyass is that they are alive and they move. Hawks are predators, and they have an instantaneous, instinctive desire to squeeze anything that is both food and moves to death. Consequently, an eyass picked up by a parent would get pierced with several needle sharp talons if it ever made either a sound or flexed a muscle. Carrying around babies just isn't in the behavioral repertoire of hawks.

Question 4:
It is interesting to me to see the amount of time both parents spend on the nest w/ the chicks -- is this normal? Obviously, to me, as an emotional human, I find it very endearing that both parents are taking such an interest in their offspring -- or is it the novelty, this being their first experience with chicks?

Blakeman's answer:
About the long periods of time the parents spend at the nest with the eyasses: As they grow larger, this will become less frequent. They are standing around on the nest now to protect the eyasses, from weather and other predators. But when the little ones get bigger (and more aggressive to parents with food) the adults will spend more time off the nest. Later, in the week or two before fledging, the young will actually mob, even grab onto, the parents bringing food to the nest. That's when food will be dropped from above, to keep the tykes off the parent's backs. Finally, food will be dropped near the nest, or on an adjacent ledge, enticing the birds to fledge.

PS from Marie: A few days ago John Blakeman wrote that soon the Trump babies would begin "slicing," that is, pooping over the edge of the nest. Lincoln tells me that they've been doing it for over a week. From the 65th floor vantage-point to the southwest of the nest--I had a chance to go up there yesterday -- you can see the black roof way down below the nest [I think it may be the roof of the Hotel Meurice on W. 58th St.] dotted with numerous white spots. Not a propitious place for sunbathing during the next few weeks, I'd say.

Field Notes --Trump Parc - June 20, 2005

Field Notes Mon. 6/20/05
Place: Little Hill, Central Park
Temp: 67 degrees
Wind light and variable
Sunny with sparse clouds

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
Arrival: 5:50PM (No one [No adult hawk, D.] on nest)

6:10 - Both Jr. and Charlotte come in from NW, seconds
apart, large circling simultaneously approx. 20 seconds over Trump bldg.
Charlotte lands on chimney top of 150.
6:12 - Jr. continues soaring over Trump and 150 - disappears soaring
6:16 - Charlotte from 150 chimney to nest, standing high and center of
nest. Babies up and active.
6:20 - Charlotte high on center of nest, tail to North, mantling in
full sun
6:25 - Babies heads pop up, Charlotte standing high over them, not
feeding them, looking up.
6:34 - Charlotte looking intently down in nest at eyeasses.
6:36 - Both babies up again - Charlotte gently nudges them in and down
under her. [Covering, possible predator? D.]
6:40 - Charlotte faces West, sitting on babies.
6:42 - Rotates around tail to West/ mantles/babies active with heads
popping up on occasion. Charlotte alert and continues to twist head, looking up and around.
6:50 - Charlotte faces West, still in center of nest. Preens self. Babies
neck up to left.
7:10 - Charlotte appears to be feeding baby from her crop [?,D.] - eyeass neck stretched straight up. She gently guides eyeass to back of nest,
against building.
7:12 - Charlotte mantling - facing Little Hill.
7:14 - Charlotte sitting low at South end of nest, almost disappears
from view.
7:22 - Charlotte up and off nest - flying West (lost behind 110 Building)
8:00 - Nest still unattended (approx. 40 minutes). No sign of Charlotte or Jr. Upon leaving, checked possible perching spots - chimney, Essex sign. Nothing in sight.

Signing off - Charmain Devereaux
(others remaining in attendance - John and Jean)

Jean takes up note taking here and it turns out that
Charmain was the sacrificial birder on this one.

Jean reports:
8:05 Charlotte to nest from behind the Hampshire House but she was not seen coming from W on either CPW or 58th, conceivably had been sitting on far side of HH. Stands on nest. 8:40 Settle into nest, then pops back up, settles back into nest.

Trump Parc Field Notes-Jean and Charmain
Observers-Jean, Charmain, Stella, John.
Submitted-Donna Browne

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pale Male and Lola: Are they moving to the Beresford?

The Beresford --view from Park, facing west

The Beresford, from the south,
view including the American Museum of Natural History
the tower at right is the south-east tower

Yesterday at about 8:15 pm on the last evening of spring, a few feet east of the park entrance at 81st Street --it is called Hunter's Gate, according to official Central Park nomenclature going back to the 19th century-- I saw a pair of hawks at the top of the Beresford. One was lighter than the other, and word has it that they are none other than our celebrity hawks Pale Male and Lola. Since the hawkwatchers who have reported seeing this pair fly from the Beresford to Pale Male and Lola's favorite perch on the Oreo Bldg on 79th and Fifth, are reliable informants, I assume that the pair I saw were, indeed,. Pale Male and Lola. I can't say I could make that identification myself because it was nearing sunset and the light was fading rapidly. The horizon was glowing with little pinkish, rapidly reddening clouds that very much resembled the picture labeled Altocumulus stratiformis on my favorite 37 cent postage stamps, the series called Cloudscapes.

The Beresford, a three-towered landmark of Central Park West designed by architect Emery Roth and completed in 1929, just before the stock-market crash, is one of the three spectacular landmark buildings of Central Park West, the other two being the Dakota on 72nd St. and the twin-towered San Remo between 74th and 75th St. For those thrilled by Vanity Fair-type dishery, the apartment near where the hawk pair is hanging out these days
"was occupied for a while by Mike Nichols, the director, and, at another time, by Helen Gurley Brown, the magazine editor, and her husband, David Brown, the producer. Other residents have included Isaac Stern, the violinist, Beverly Sills, the opera singer, and columnist Leonard Lyons." according to The City Review's Upper West Side Book.

As I was watching, each of the pair took off, circled, and returned to various spots on the ornate southern-facing facade as well as the east-facing facade of the south tower. At one point a feisty little kestrel came by and dive-bombed Lola -- she is at least twice the little falcon's size. She didn't fight back, but after a while simply took off again in an easterly direction. Pale Male too was last seen heading east. On a ledge below the ornate decoration on the southern facade I could see an accumulation of something -- hard to see what in the failing light. But I'd imagine that's where they have deposited the sticks they've been seen bringing up there.

My own guess is that this is NOT going to be a new nest site. I've seen our Fifth Avenue hawks bringing sticks to various window ledges on Woody's building and others during the last decade, but they've always remained faithful to their 927 Fifth nest site. John Blakeman agrees. Here is his comment on the news that PM and Lola have been bringing sticks to the Beresford:

What's this about Pale Male Sr. and Lola checking out new nest digs? Right now, if I had to bet (and I've bet several times on this pair, and lost every time), I'd still keep paying the rent at 927. Red-tails are famous for having two or three alternative, nearby nests. In wild, rural pairs, as with most of my Ohio birds, the hawks alternate from year to year between nests. This pair's carrying new sticks to another potential nest site doesn't mean much right now. Nest sites are selected in winter, not late spring or summer. This stick-carrying activity is probably another "displacement" behavior, where the birds have the hormones and memories to be feeding eyasses right now. But there aren't any at 927, so they feel compelled to do something parental, and the only thing available is to mess around with a new nest. Let's see how this develops. Mark down the new stick piles and see if either bird frequents them in November or December. If so, things could get interesting. For now, because the pair has stayed at 927 through everything, I'm betting they will return next winter. But again, these birds have questioned my raptorial wisdom time and again.

Summer's here!

It's official. The solstice occured this morning at 2:46 a.m.

It happened between Friday and Sunday!

White-breasted Nuthatch in C.P.
Photo by D. Bruce Yolton

A story in four short letters

6/20/05 mtsegall wrote [in e-birds]:
The White-breasted Nuthatches have been absent from CP reports, so I thought I would mention them.

On Starr Saphir's morning walk in the Ramble May 18, we came upon a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches engaged in what appeared to be a courtship ritual. The male was slowly spreading his wings and tail, a beautiful display that none of us had ever seen before.

On Friday, June 17, I managed to re-find the dead tree where we had seen this, and sure enough, the pair did nest there in a large hole and are now feeding young ones. I kept a respectful distance, but even so did see one nestling's face.

I am not good at giving Ramble directions, but this tree is on a path that goes slightly northwest from the rustic shelter, on the left side if you are walking that way. The tree is right by the path in the open, just a trunk that forks once, and the hole is about eye level.

Ardith Bondi responded:
Did anyone see these nestlings fledge? They were gone from the nesthole on Sunday afternoon, [6/19] but the adults were still seen around Azalea Pond.

Sally Weiner wrote back:
Yesterday morning, [ 6/19]around 9 or 9:30, Susan Schulz and I saw 3 or 4 white-breasted nuthatches on the path between the Castle and the Humming Tombstone (closer the latter). A young bird, presumably from the tree-stump nest, ate peanuts from Susan's hand.

Ardith answered:
Thanks, Sally. I'm glad to hear they're around. They probably developed a taste for peanuts since their parents were regularly taking them handouts in the nest. I wonder whether they fledged yesterday morning or on Saturday?

Marie answers in the headline.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Donna's Field Notes -- Trump Parc nest

Photo by Lincoln Karim
June 18, 2005

Field Notes 6-19-05

Sunset 8:32PM (NYT),
Temp. Hi 72F, 7PM-66F
Humidity 55%,
Wind E 5 to 10 MPH,
Prey Tally-pigeon, rat.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
Trump Nest
Alice reports-
4:45 Charlotte on right side of nest.
4:50 Charlotte sitting center, facing W. Kestrel
flyby, Kestrel gone behind building. Jr. on nest.
4:55 Hawk off nest.
4:56 Both hawks circle, one to 150 building, the other
to nest.
4:58 Hawk off 150.
4:59 Hawk off nest, circling in front of nest,
probably Pale Male Junior.
5:00 Jr. lands on nest, stands.
5:04 Jr. looks S.
5:05 Charlotte to nest left. PMJ looking S on nest
right. Both look down focus on eyasses.
5:09 Jr. gone, Charlotte looking into nest, tail to N.
5:11 Eating or feeding motions.
5:16 Charlotte facing nest,looking down, standing
Donna's report
5:15 Jr. soaring in sky over Columbus Circle, perches
far E corner of remnants of old Biography sign(?).
5:20 Jr. up and off to W, lost in sun.
5:27 Soars back to Columbus Circle and again perches E
corner of old sign.
5:37 Charlotte stands, pants.
5:39 Eyass head pops up.
5:45 Charlotte rends prey, feeds.
5:46 Mantles.
5:52 Jr. circles over HH and Essex to 58th behind HH
and Essex, circles W of Essex.
5:53 Continues to circle over St. Regis Club, rising
higher and higher into clouds.
5:55 Charlotte alert looks directly up, Jr. above
Essex, then N, looks to dive onto hotel roof, hunting
pigeons on roof(?).
6:18 Charlotte preens, nictitating right membrane one
third up.
6:26 Charlotte on nest S.
6:50 The sun comes out, Charlotte preens mid-back
6:57 The mulberries and wild strawberries are ripe.
7:10 Charlotte feeds, feathers very ruffled by wind.
7:14 Some small item falls off nest, bit of twig,
feather, ?. Charlotte watches it go.
7:16 Charlotte sits on edge at point of corbel, tail
to Little Hill, looks down near edge with focus at ?
(eyass?), moves twig from further back in nest to near
edge, pokes and manipulates it a couple of times,
until satisfied with placement. Charlotte looks down
at "the spot" the newly placed twig wiggles
intermittantly, no other twigs are wiggling in the
wind. Charlotte monitors the spot. (If any of those
with overlooking window seats saw what was going on
with this, please let me know. My curiousity is
killing me. "Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction
cured it" thanks to Irene for the continuation of the
7:21 Charlotte off nest fast, direct into park and
towards 64th St.
7:24 Junior returns on the exact same flight line that
Charlotte left on, to nest.
7:25 Charlotte does the same, then to nest. Both look
at eyasses with focus.
7:27 Sam on the scope sees that Jr. has brought a rat,
"Bigger than his head".
7:28 Junior up and off nest, circles above park,
soars, banks, circles again and again, westering sun
turns his plumage to shining gold, more circles, then
flies directly above us at Little Hill to WNW.
7:34 Charlotte center, feeds eyasses and eating.
7:40 Junior is back circling slightly W of Little Hill
over Black Squirrel Woods, continuous circles above
the trees, playful action, riding the currents, he
disappears in the treeline towards the Ballfields.
7:45 Exit.

Submitted-Donna Browne

Today's Hawkwatchers-Darby, John, Alice, Bill, Donna,
Sam, Katherine, Noreen.

Another landmark

Last night ... in New York City's
Central Park, in the dark, a spark ...

this year's first
Lightning Bug.

--Kentaurian --

PS -- "Last night" was Saturday June 18.
Lightning bugs are also known as fireflies. As you may know they are beetles, not flies. The species found in Central Park is
Photuris pennsylvanicus.

PPS About the flashing light on lightning bugs: It's on the end of the abdomen. The females are wingless and flash from the ground. The males fly around trying to locate the females. So if you see a firefly flying, it's a guy firefly.