Monday, October 26, 2020

Raptorama 2020 at Marine Park

Raptorama 2020 (AKA Raptorfest) took place this year at Marine Park, Brooklyn, Sunday, October 18. Things were a bit different this year due to COVID-19, so precautions were taken such as limiting the number of attendees, requiring masks and putting time limits on the sessions with the birds. Nevertheless, it was a good time all around, and we really enjoyed being up close to several birds generously brought in by Bobby and Cathy Horvath of WINORR (Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation).

The highlight for me this year was seeing this gorgeous Golden Eagle, a bird I don't get to see every day, or really ever.

Golden eagle

He is magnificent!

Golden eagle

Golden eagle

Golden eagle

Golden eagle

We've met this Bald Eagle named Montana before and he is exceptional every time.

Bald eagle

I was captivated by this Gyrfalcon, who is apparently retired from falconry, so was very at-ease in the presence of people.




You can see the differences in the facial markings as compared to this Peregrine Falcon, below. This guy is always a favorite to see up close. In the wilds of the city, we usually see them soaring above the skyscrapers or perched on high ledges.

Peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon

Meet the Merlin, a much smaller falcon, but still fierce!



The smallest and fiercest of all the falcons, in my opinion, is the American Kestrel. In the city, I usually observe them chasing much larger hawks and making a loud ruckus. This male, however, stayed so quiet, I kept forgetting he was there. What a sweetie.


This beauty is Gypsy, a Rough-Legged Hawk.

Gypsy the rough-legged hawk

Gypsy the rough-legged hawk

And this is the lovely Diana, a Red-Tailed Hawk.

Diana the red-tailed hawk

This Eurasian Eagle Owl was raised as a chick by the Horvaths and is one of the family.

Eurasian eagle owl

The owl is so comfortable with them, at first glance, he resembles a snuggly cat.

Eurasian eagle owl

There were a few more raptors featured at Raptorama, and you can see more photos of the event on my Flickr page.

Thank you to the Horvaths for sharing their birds, as well as NYC Audubon, the American Littoral Society, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service for organizing this event under unprecedented circumstances.

I asked the Horvaths how Dora (our former First Lady red-tailed hawk of Tompkins Square Park) is doing and I was told she is happy and healthy in the care of WINORR. She has a mate and is eating well. WINORR is a volunteer non-profit organization that relies on donations, so please consider supporting them by visiting their GoFundMe page.

See highlights from previous NYC Raptorfests here and here.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Fall foliage in the East Village

These trees on East 5th Street between First and Second Avenues remind me of Nature's paint brushes, decorating the neighborhood with happy vibrant color.

Fall foliage in the East Village

Let's hope for a beautiful fall season.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

2020 summer bird highlights

I somehow let the entire summer slip by without posting any bird (non-hawk) photos! Despite the last several months being stressfull and chaotic due to the pandemic, I did manage to do a lot of birding. It's the one activity that's been safe and relatively easy for me to do during this time of limited travel. Although I haven't been able to venture outside the city, I've been successful finding birds close to home. Below are some highlights from the last several weeks.

Northern Parula:

Northern Parula

Prairie Warbler:

Prairie warbler

Prairie warbler

Black-Throated Green Warbler:

Black-throated green warbler

Magnolia Warbler fanning its tail:

Magnolia warbler

Black-Throated Blue Warbler:

Black-throated blue warbler

Blackpoll Warbler:

Blackpoll warbler

American Redstart:

American redstart

Nashville Warbler:

Nashville warbler

Chestnut-Sided Warbler:

Chestnut-sided warbler

Chestnut-sided warbler

Red-Eyed Vireo:

Red-eyed vireo

Warbling Vireo:

Warbling vireo

Summer Tanager:

Summer tanager

Eating a bee:

Summer tanager eating a bee

Scarlet Tanager:

Scarlet tanager





Brown Thrasher:

Brown Thrasher

Baltimore Oriole:

Baltimore Oriole

Gray Catbird:


Great Crested Flycatcher:

Great crested flycatcher

White-Throated Sparrow:

White-throated sparrow

House Wren:

House wren

Dark-Eyed Junco:


Warbler migration seems to be winding down in this area, but there are still a lot of birds on the move, making their way south for the winter. It's a slow time of year for the local hawks, but Christo and Amelia are around and seem to be doing okay. I'll post updates on them once the activity kicks up again, which I hope will be soon.