Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Big Mama & Splittail

Landing in tree on Payne Hill

(Photo credit - Rob J)

As I walked down the path from the Picnic House towards the Ravine I noticed some movement at the top of a tree on Payne Hill. Splittail was perched at the very top of a sycamore tree, breaking off twigs. I began walking in that direction hoping that he would stick around. He flew off, presumably, towards their nest in the tulip tree. Big Mama then flew into the same tree and began examining some of the bare branches at the tree's peak.

Big Mama looking for twigs

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I spent my lunch hour in the woods near their nest and listened to their frequent calls. They spent a lot of time soaring and circling over their nest woods. The wind was blowing from the northwest and created a nice updraft for them at the edge of Payne Hill. They looked as though they were enjoying themselves. Spying on them through the thin leaf cover I watched as they would slowly drift into the wind towards the edge of the Long Meadow. Once they were above the edge of Payne Hill they would make a tight left turn and let the wind quickly carry them above the Midwood and the zoo. Like seals riding waves on the ocean, the hawks continued the circular rollercoaster for 20 minutes.

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Prospect Park, 11/16/2004
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Red-tailed Hawk (2, Payne Hill. Working on nest.)
Ring-billed Gull
Hairy Woodpecker (Midwood.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (1, Payne Hill.)
Brown Creeper (2, Payne Hill.)
White-throated Sparrow (Fairly common.)
Dark-eyed Junco (Fairly common.)
Pine Siskin (Feeding in Sweetgum at Nethermead Arches, within goldfinch flock.)
American Goldfinch (Common.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, House Sparrow

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