Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Big Mama incubating eggs

I ran into Bob Baines on my way to check on the Payne Hill hawk nest. We haven’t seen each other in many months so we did some catching up before heading up the hill.

There’s a fenced off area on the Long Meadow side of the hill that has been under restoration for about six years. On Friday I observed two men behind the fencing involved in some questionable activities. My initial anger was tempered when they inadvertantly flushed three American Woodcocks. Bob and I checked the area again today but didn’t locate any woodcocks. A short distance north of that spot is the rise where I stand to watch Big Mama and Split-tail’s nest.

There didn’t appear to be either hawk on the nest. I walked around to various locations hoping to see the top of a Red-tailed Hawk head. We waited around for about fifteen minutes when I spotted Shane walking south along the edge of the meadow. He joined us below the hawk nest. Shortly after we heard the raspy “keeeer” of one of the red-tails nearby. I couldn’t tell if it was the male or the female. It circled above Payne Hill for a moment then dropped down into the nest tree. It didn’t settle down on the nest, but rather perched about four feet above it. I was a little disappointed when the unidentified hawk took off without even examining the nest. I was talking to Shane, and not really paying attention to the nest, when Bob exclaimed, “There’s a hawk on the nest”. Sure enough one of the hawks had been sitting on the nest the whole time. It had remained hidden until it stood up at the edge of the nest to stretch.

Last year I could always see Big Mama when she incubated the eggs as her head extended above the sides of the nest. When her smaller mate took his turn at the nest he was rarely visible. I can’t be certain if it was Split-tail on the nest today or if this year’s additional construction has created a deeper bowl, hiding his larger mate. In either case, there are now eggs in the nest and we should see signs of hatchlings in about thirty days.

On another note, we have only seen one Eastern Phoebe in the park so far this season. There are usually many more by now and I assume that they will appear with the next warm front and south wind.

Forsythia buds in the Lullwater

(Photo credit - Rob J)

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Prospect Park, 3/22/2005
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Double-crested Cormorant (1.)
Wood Duck (2 drakes, Prospect Lake.)
Northern Shoveler (Approx. 20.)
Ring-necked Duck (25, near Duck Is. 2, Upper Pool.)
Bufflehead (2, near Duck Island.)
Hooded Merganser (2, near Duck Island.)
Ruddy Duck (Common.)
Red-shouldered Hawk (Soaring over Payne Hill.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3.)
American Coot (Several, Prospect Lake.)
Ring-billed Gull
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Near Terrace Bridge.)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Fox Sparrow (4, Lullwater & Peninsula.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco (Fairly common.)
Common Grackle

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (3.), Downy Woodpecker (3 or 4.), Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee (3.), Tufted Titmouse (2.), American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal (Several.), Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like to email you some nyc raptor pix...what's your email address? Contact me at jphillipobrien@hotmail.com.

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