Monday, June 18, 2018

Looking cute and fuzzy in Tompkins Square

The two Tompkins Square red-tail nestlings are growing and changing fast.  They're finally getting big enough to see from the ground, but the placement of the nest is pretty well hidden, so getting photos is a challenge.  Below are pics from the last several days, in date-order.  It's hard to believe the chicks are just over three weeks old.

June 9:

Hello, babe

Dad Christo looks on as one nestling gazes out over the park.

Christo and one of his kids

June 12:

Tompkins red-tail nestling

A wing-stretch reveals the formation of pin feathers. Look closely and note the second chick on the left, its face blocked by leaves.

Tompkins red-tail nestling showing pin feathers

This chick already has an impressive wingspan.

Tompkins red-tail nestling

June 15:

Tompkins nestling

A view of the pin feathers from behind.  Note they are also starting to appear on the tail.

Pin feathers

June 16:

Tompkins nestling

Fuzzy wings

June 17:

A lazy Sunday afternoon with mom Amelia in the background.

Lazy Sunday afternoon

Tompkins red-tail nestlings

At last, BOTH chicks at once!

Tompkins red-tail nestlings

Hello, you two.

Tompkins red-tail nestlings

Meanwhile, Washington Square Park had its first fledge this last Saturday.  See Roger_Paw's blog for an account of its first day out and about, and there is video of the fledge from the NYU webcam here.

Urban Hawks was on the scene of the fledge and also has video of the moment it happened

Check out the rest of his site for updates on the other Manhattan nest sites, some of which have experienced some drama this season.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Amelia menaced by blue jays

Christo is not the only hawk being assaulted by blue jays atop St Brigid's church cross on a regular basis.  Amelia is getting her fair share of harassment as well. 

Taking aim...

Bombs away!

Amelia and a blue jay

Amelia mobbed by a blue jay

Amelia mobbed by a blue jay

First contact.

Amelia mobbed by a blue jay

Second contact!

Amelia mobbed by a blue jay

On a different day:

Blue jay takes aim at Amelia

Plucking Amelia's eyebrows.  Ouch!

Amelia mobbed by a blue menace

A closer look:

Amelia mobbed by a blue menace

Amelia mobbed by a blue menace

After this bout of bullying, Amelia just shook it off and stretched in the setting sun.

Amelia at sunset

You can see many more photos of Christo, Dora, Amelia and red-tail fledglings being mobbed by blue jays here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Christo and the blue terrors

Red-tails Christo, Amelia and their two kids are doing well in Tompkins Square, although their nest is difficult for us to see as it is hidden in the trees.  We've been able to get much better looks at the parents when they take breaks on the cross of St Brigid's church on Avenue B and 8th Street.  However, they don't always get to relax as some of their neighbors do not like having raptors around. 

Blue jays are likely nesting in the area, and they take every opportunity to harass the hawks.  Below, Christo suffers through a bout of bullying.

Christo mobbed by a blue menace

Christo mobbed by a blue menace

A closer look:

Christo mobbed by a blue menace


Christo mobbed by a blue menace

That last jab proved too much for Christo, who took off screaming.

Christo calling


Christo calling

To get an idea of what he sounded like, here's a link to the classic red-tailed hawk call.

Christo calling

Poor guy.

Coming up next:  Amelia gets her fair share of punishment from the blue menaces...

Friday, June 8, 2018

Tompkins chick pics

It's been a week since we had our first glimpse of a chick in the Tompkins Square hawk nest, and two weeks since they had a hatch.  It looks like there are just two hatchlings this season.  The nest is really hard to see this year, but I did get to see one of the chicks pop up today.

I caught mom Amelia feeding one of the chicks late this afternoon.

Amelia feeds her chick

For a while, all I could see was the chick's head poking up above the rim of the nest.

Amelia and one of her chicks

Then, suddenly, it popped up to reveal itself and a very full crop.

Amelia and one of her chicks

Amelia and one of her chicks

Amelia and one of her chicks

The above photos represent about three seconds out of five hours of hawk-watching, but it was worth the wait.

Amelia has been on the nest watching over the chicks most of the time, but she takes a break once in a while on the cross across the street at St Brigid's church.  I was able to get nice look at her there earlier this week.



Note her light eye color.  This may be an indicator that she's relatively young. I have no idea of her history, so I don't know her age.


Meanwhile, Christo has been sticking close to home, but he's been hidden in the trees.  When he's not perched near the nest, he can be hard to find.  I caught up with him this week as he was hunting in the evening.


He caught a pigeon near Avenue A, plucked it and ate a bit of it before delivering it to his kids in the nest.



All seems well so far with this new hawk family.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Spring stragglers

Spring bird migration through the city has pretty much ended, all the travelers settling into their summer nesting grounds.  Below are some photos I neglected to post this spring - not all are migrants, but are still special.

Canada Warbler eating an ant:

Canada warbler with an ant

Canada warbler with an ant

Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak:

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Song Sparrow with a caterpillar:

Song sparrow with a caterpillar

Male Tree Swallow:

Tree swallow

Black-Throated Green Warbler:

Black-throated Green warbler

House Wren.  I found this one after hearing it first.  Listen to its song here.

House wren



And its nest with four beautifully speckled eggs...

Killdeer nest with eggs



Savannah Sparrow:

Savannah sparrow

A young Red-Tailed Hawk playing with a pine cone:

Hawk with a pine 

Male Kestrel in Green-Wood Cemetery: