Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014 Halloween Dog Parade

Here are a few participants in the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade this last weekend.

My personal favorite, Teddy Roosevelt...

2014 Halloween Dog Parade

2014 Halloween Dog Parade

2014 Halloween Dog Parade

2014 Halloween Dog Parade

2014 Halloween Dog Parade

2014 Halloween Dog Parade

See more photos here.

Past years:


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Other birds

Hawks Christo and Dora are spending a lot of time together in Tompkins Square, but I've been unable to get a decent photo of them recently.  I tend to catch them at the end of the day when they're very active, but the light is bad and my camera doesn't like that.

The good news is it looks like the hawks are settled into their territory, so maybe we can look forward to another nesting season.  The bad news - if you can call it that - is the adult hawks could be keeping the migrating juvenile hawks out of the park.  By this time of year, we should be seeing visiting hawks passing through the neighborhood, but I've not seen a single one.  I guess it's still early in the season, though, so time will tell. 

In the mean time, I've seen a few other interesting birds in the area, like this ruby-crowned kinglet: 

Ruby crowned kinglet

And this tufted titmouse up in Central Park:


This female cardinal kept eying me...

Ms Cardinal

This friendly hermit thrush in Tompkins Square didn't mind posing.


This curious nuthatch responded to the clicking of my camera.


I love the yellow-bellied sapsuckers that slink around the tree trunks...


...and this particular tree was popular with both the sapsuckers and sparrows.  These two kept getting in each other's business.

Sparrow and sapsucker

Weeee!  A golden-crowned kinglet zooms between branches.


A catbird munches on a yummy berry.

Cat bird

I was very excited to see this unusual bird in Central Park.  Is it a dark-eyed junco or a white-throated sparrow?  Puzzled, I consulted some birder friends and the internet and discovered there is such thing as a hybrid. 


I guess I can't really do a bird post without a hawk photo, so here is Christo a few days ago. You can see the last of his new tail feathers coming in (in the middle, behind his right leg).  Looking sharp!


See more NYC bird photos here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Christo loses his lunch

Monday saw some unexpected hawk drama in Tompkins Square.

Christo caught a pigeon and took it to the big tree in the middle of the lawn.  Things went downhill from there.

Christo catches a pigeon...

As you can see, the hawk doesn't have a good grip on the pigeon.  It looks like he has it by the tail.

Christo catches a pigeon...

As the pigeon struggled, a small crowd gathered to watch in horror.  One of the spectators thought he saw Christo grab the pigeon in flight, which would explain the bad grip.

Christo catches a pigeon...

This isn't the first time Christo has failed to catch a pigeon properly.

As the pigeon weakened, Christo was able to shift himself to get in a better position.

Christo catches a pigeon...

He started plucking feathers....

Christo catches a pigeon...

But just when things looked really dire for the pigeon, it twisted around and broke free.

Christo catches a pigeon...

As the pigeon flew away, it looked like it might be missing a foot.  It was able to fly to the east side of the dog run where it took shelter under some bushes.  Christo pursued and waited patiently in a nearby tree.  However, after about 20 minutes, the hawk abandoned his post, maybe to come back later for his lunch, maybe not.  Either way, I don't think the pigeon survived the day.

Meanwhile, Dora has been spending a fair amount of time atop St Brigid's on Ave B (she sat up there during the whole pigeon debacle).  Here she is taking a dive from the cross.


See more hawk photos here.

Previous hawk posts.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


I ventured out to Prospect Park this last weekend for Raptorfest, an event organized by the Urban Park Rangers.  It was a great opportunity to meet some beautiful birds up close.

Like this ferruginous hawk...


Ferruginous hawk

And this sweet rough-legged hawk.

Rough-legged hawk

This Harris's hawk put on a skillful display...

Harris's hawk flying through this guy's arms.

Harris's hawk

Here's a familiar red-tailed hawk, and the very same Ranger Rob, who rescued our local Christodora hawk fledgling (Shaft!) from an air shaft this last June.

Red tailed hawk

I liked this plucky raven.


This kestrel knows he's a superstar.


As does this gorgeous barn owl, ready for its close-up...

Barn owl

One of the biggest highlights was this Eurasian Eagle Owl.

Eurasian eagle owl

There's no escaping those eyes...

Eurasian eagle owl

But this little saw-whet owl really stole the show.

Saw-whet owl

All the birds were in the care of Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR).  Do check out their Facebook page to see the wonderful work they do to care for sick and injured wildlife.

Thanks to the all the park rangers and volunteers who made this event happen.

And, because I am obsessed with hawk tongues...

Rough-legged hawk 

See many more Raptorfest photos here.