Monday, June 21, 2004

Where are the fledglings?

I can't find Bebe and Alto. I was determined to locate them this morning but was unsuccessful. I walked the western edge of the woods on Payne and Sullivan Hills scanning the trees while listening for hawk calls and songbird alarm calls. I took the path that travels through the center of the woods from the Cucumber Magnolia at the edge of the Long Meadow, south to the Boulder Bridge. When I couldn't find them on the ridge I decided to check below in the Midwood forest.

I couldn't find them in the Midwood either but did observe some interesting activities. A male Red-bellied Woodpecker called while watching a nest cavity. The female was a short distance away digging a hole in a rotted branch. A Northern Flicker called his mate then briefly copulated with her in a large White Oak tree. A Wood Thrush was singing from a perch in a tuliptree sapling next to his nest. I was watching a chipmunk rooting around in the leaf litter when it flushed up a moth. The tiny, dried leaf-colored moth fluttered away and the chipmunk scampered after it like a movie running at high speed. It caught the moth then munched on it from atop a hollow log a few feet away from me.

When I first arrived at Payne Hill Split-tail was perched in a large oak tree overlooking the Long Meadow. He was being harassed by a robin and a grackle. He made a low, grumbling noise then flew off over the meadow. He circled the area for a few minutes while calling for his mate. I ran into Ann of the landscape management office a little later near Rick's Place. As we were talking Split-tail flew into a tuliptree nearby and began calling again. Neither his mate nor offspring responded. Thirty minutes later I heard him calling from high above Payne Hill. He descended rapidly into the locust tree next to the nest and called some more. There was no response.

I'm trying not to worry. What's curious is that usually, right after the young hawks fledge, they stay pretty close to the nest area. The canopy at Payne Hill is pretty dense offering a fairly large, continuous highway of treetops for the large fledglings to travel over. There are only a few wide jumping off spots for them near the Midwood and Battle Pass. I'll have to check those areas tomorrow.

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Prospect Park, 6/21/2004
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Red-tailed Hawk (1 adult.)
Chimney Swift
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (Male & female copulating in Midwood.)
Red-eyed Vireo (Payne Hill.)
Wood Thrush (1 adult pair at Rick's Pl. 1 male in Midwood.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird (Long Meadow.)
Cedar Waxwing
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole (Singing at Rick's Pl.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (Male & female in Midwood.), Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee (2 adults, 2 fledglings in Midwood.), American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, House Sparrow

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