Monday, November 20, 2017

On a drizzly day in Tompkins Square, Dora delivers a surprise

Saturday was dark and drizzly in Tompkins Square, but both hawks were keeping busy in the park.

I first caught up with Christo, who was calmly perched behind the park offices, watching rats run around in the bushes.


Not happy with the dinner selection in that area, he took off to the front side of the offices.



Christo is so quick, I was still in the covered area when I saw him swoop low to the ground and nab a rat from in front of the women's restroom.  The action took about half a second and I missed the grab.  I did manage to catch Christo with some lovely fall foliage, though.



Christo took the rat to the east side of the park where he ate it in less than five minutes.  Dora had been watching him, so I expected him to share with her, but he ate it all himself.

After Christo dined and dashed, Dora came around and seemed to be in hunting mode.  I've only seen her catch prey in the park two or three times in the last four years.  This doesn't mean she doesn't hunt there, but she is more secretive about it.  The last time I saw her catch prey, she was pretty badass.

On this day, since I'd already seen Christo do his thing, I decided to hang out with Dora. As it was dark and raining, sitting with her was a bit tedious, but she kept acting like she was going to pounce on something, so I stuck it out.

Dora on the prowl

After about an hour of watching her sit stand sit stand sit stand on the same branch, Dora finally and suddenly dove down to some bushes near the 9th St and Ave B entrance to the park.  When she popped up, she had a huge rat in her talons.  The photo below shows how dark it was. 

Dora with a rat

Dora took her catch to a favorite feeding branch along Ave B to eat in privacy.  She discarded one part of the rat - possibly the stomach.  I've seen Christo discard this particular part before, and I've wondered if the hawks do this for a reason as they seem to eat all other prey parts including bones, tails, feet and feathers.

Meanwhile, the hawks have been working on the new nest in the old ginkgo tree near the 8th St and Ave B entrance to the park.  In the photo below, the nest is the large blob in the upper part of the tree.

New hawk nest in Tompkins Square

This photo from April 2016 shows the location of the previous nest in the same tree. It was in the crook of the trunk to the left.

Christo on the nest

The 2017 nest in the locust near the Temperance Fountain is still holding together.

This is not hawk-related, but I saw that Anton van Dalen was flying his pigeons Friday afternoon over the skateboard area at Ave A and 10th St.  I love to stand and watch their soothing circles in the sky.