Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hawk and Owl News

Central Park Hawks 18 Feb 2005
Temperature: 30F
Wind Chill: 14F and sinking.
Wind-Gusts to 25MPH
All times PM.
1:35 Little Hill, 58th St., Columbus Circle, favorite perches, nest, and environs. No Red-tails in sight.
2:20 Finally. Charlotte circles above big silver globe in Columbus Circle, gains altitude,
2:24 Charlotte glides east into the park trees, once in the trees, curves north, perches in tree near wall.
2:26 Charlotte dives out of view behind the wall, Grackles flush up.
2:27 Charlotte flies back into view, heads toward ball fields, northeast.
2:31 Stella calls and reports Pale Male is perched on The Beresford.
2:43 No RTs on nest or Hampshire House chimney.
2:48 RT circles above Cobs Cot. Pigeons flush. I head into the Park.
2:53 Cooper's Hawk flies across park southwest to northeast.
3:19 The Hawk Bench, No Rik. Stella, avid hawk watcher and surgical nurse, is in residence, but hardly recognizable in her wool mask that shows only her eyes. It is very cold.. She reports a Cooper's Hawk was perched low in a tree at the north end of the Model Boat Pond for a good while earlier. No Lola or Pale Male currently.
4:03 We're dreaming about hot beverages. Reverie broken, Pale Male and Lola suddenly converge on the nest and land. Pale Male brings a twig with him. He turns cocks his head repeatedly looking down.
4:05 Lola off to ?. Pale Male up and to the top east corner of scaffolding on The Stovepipe.
4:07 Strong wind doesn't just ruffle PM's feathers, it blows them sideways,up, and down, he sits alert. Numerous passers-by look at him through the scope.
4:12 A male and female Peregrine appear above Pale Male, trading off dives at his head. (Peregrines are capable of killing Red-tails.) Pale Male hunches his body down and crooks his head back to watch them, ducking when appropriate. His beak works. At several points he raises his wings. I've seen Charlotte defend herself from Peregrine attack on the wing by rolling in the air with talons up just as the Peregrine's dive almost gets to her head. In order to avoid the talons the Peregrine then veers off. I wonder, if the Peregrine attack becomes too serious, if Pale Male is capable of throwing himself off the scaffolding backwards to get his talons up in time to protect his head. Then continuing the roll into flight. Timing.
4:20 The Peregrines have given up. Pale Male stands alert in the cold wind.
4:25 Pale Male is up, he flies south, perches Linda 1, in the sun. [An explanation of Linda 1 to follow tomorrow]
4:30 Pale Male to nest. Are the Peregrines giving Lola a hard time out of our sight and PM is doing nest protection duty?
4:33 Pale Male off nest to Linda 1.
4:35 Pale Male up and toward the Lake. Two birders come by, an immature RT has been hunting rats in The Oven. He's nabbed one and is eating heartily. The few hawk watchers start to disperse, including this one. Heading west, I consider whether I'll get frostbite if I try to wait for the West Drive Owl flyout. My feet won't bend, they've gotten to the lump of wood stage.
5:10 West Screech Owl Tree, not an owl or human in sight.** The wind is blowing hard up the drive.
5:15 Exit.

Donna Browne

**Note from Marie: I arrived at the West Drive owl tree at 5:30. Jean, Lee, and new Owler Connie arrived soon afterward.. The male Screech-owl popped into the hole entrance at 5:35, unusually late for first appearance, flew out at 5:52. It was dauntingtly cold, for humans certainly, for owls possibly. The temperature was in the low 20's. The female owl flew out at about 6:05. [We were too cold to look at our watches.] The owls stopped briefly at two perches and disappeared to the northwest. We disappeared shortly after they did.