Saturday, December 31, 2005

A word from the GHO


Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik
December 30, 2005

[Saturday, December 31...still here.]

Can we do something to help Pale Male and Lola?

A number of website correspondents have sent letters like the following, from Pam Greenwood of Maryland:
I wondered if it might be worth quickly considering doing something to reduce the chances that the pigeon spikes will again damage the eggs this year. I realize it is not certain that was the problem, but it seems undeniable that the spikes were protruding into the nest last year. Could the inner spikes be removed and the outer ones left to hold the nest in place? Is any other solution possible?

Here is the answer I sent:

1. No, not undeniable. It's still a question mark.

2. Whatever it is, we absolutely don't have access to the nest. We'll just have to hope that this year follows the pattern of other years when the hawks had to build a nest from scratch: 1993, 1994, and 2005. Those years were failures. My idea is that the nest always needs at least a second layer. Then, and only then does it succeed. That bodes well for 2006.

Keep your fingers crossed .

And to creatures hairy or smooth, feathered, finned or scaled, flying, creeping, walking or slithering:

Happy New Year one and all.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The ups and downs of romance

The screech couple, chez-Gray - Dec. 22, 2005
Photo by Bruce Yolton

If you recall, the red morph screech owl used to roost in a tree up the hill from the Boathouse. The grey one spent his nights in a hole not far from the rowboat lake [the Riviera hole]. Then they got together in the grey owl's tree. Now here's the latest news of the screech couple, also [see previous post] from Jack Meyer:

The Red morph Screech was back in his old spot this AM. Not sure about the gray. I think it was scrunched down in the hole-- saw what looked like the very top of its head in the Riviera hole, but this may have been an illusion. This was early AM about 7:30; perhaps he will come out for sun later. Of course, maybe as they were flying last night one said "Your place or mine?" and the red said "Mine."

Day Twelve -- JB's comment


The Great Horned Owl showed up in the Ramble on the day of the annual Christmas Count, December 18th. Amazing to say, it is still there, seen by Jack Meyer early this morning. According to reports from various owl followers, the fly-out has taken place around 5:00 pm for the last few nights.

As far as I know, no Great Horned Owl of the past has every stayed in Central Park for more than one day. This bird has graced us with its thrilling presence for 12 days in a row. Here is what John Blakeman has to say about this event:

"The big owl seems to be hanging around. So far, that's not overly significant. But if anyone sees a second great-horned in January or February, then things could get very interesting next winter. Great horned owls start nesting as early as December, and usually by January or early February things are well underway. If anyone sees a second great-horned, post that immediately."

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Holiday Greetings

I'll be away from Central Park until next Friday.
Have a great and hopeful holiday wherever you are.

A Christmas present from Bruce: Yesterday's Owls plus info from me

The Owl Romance -- once in separate holes--now together -12/24/05

First there was one, and then there were two.-- 12/24/05

Great Horned Owl at the Oven 12/24/05 --seventh day

All photos by BRUCE YOLTON

Thanks, Bruce. My Christmas is merrier, thanks to you.

Here's my little Christmas bonus: important information.

For December 25, 2005

Sunrise: 7:19 am
Sunset: 4:34 pm
Moon rise: 1:23 a.m .
Moon set: 12:32 pm

Planets visible during dark hours [even if briefly]:
Jupiter: rise:3:05 am -- Set:1:30 pm
Saturn: S9:38 am -- R 7:18 pm
Mars: S 3:02 am--S 103 pm
Venus: R 9:am--S 6:49 pm, [very brilliant in west for an hour or so after sunset]