Thursday, February 24, 2011

Make-up AMNH Walk with Paul

Today was our last winter walk.  I'm so glad that Paul did a make-up for people who missed!  It started off quite quiet in the park - on my way up I didn't see any hawks, woodpeckers, or even ducks on the lake.  Yesterday there were a few dozen, and really fiesty!  Today, quiet.  

When I was almost there I saw a hawk flying, it looked like it was coming down Central Park West, and then when I got to the meeting spot Paul said they saw a peregrine dive-bomb a hawk!  I wonder if it was the same one.  So sad I missed that!

Starting out, we did manage to find the usual suspects - white-throated sparrows, red-bellied woodpeckers, downies, cardinals.  The walk really picked up when we got to the oven.  

Someone spotted this juvenile red-tailed hawk eating its lunch!  A couple of birders there said it was a wood duck.

After a few bites it looked up into the sky with intense interest and the whole group around me made a surprised sound.

A rival had arrived!  Another juvenile red-tailed hawk.  He looks like he should be wearing a cape and carrying a sword, and saying something dastardly.

It was the Battle of the Hawks!

It looked pretty fierce.

They are not kidding around.  You can see their talons engaged.

Recovery time.

Looking alert - what's happening now?

Getting ready for action!

A chase-off attempt.  They both settled nearby and it was unclear who would end up with the duck when we left.  What a sight!

We went over to see if we could get a look at the varied thrush.  And we did!  We got incredibly lucky, seeing this little lady on every single walk.  Here she goes!

And there she is.

This white-throated sparrow was particularly vivid.  Oh, he's gonna get all the girls!

On the way to the reservoir, another hawk perched and seeing what's for lunch.

On the reservoir, one hooded merganser and a few northern shovelers.

Ring-billed gulls came right over when Paul tossed some crumbs out.

Then we headed back down, and someone spotted another hawk on the way down!  It was definitely a hawk-heavy day!  It was another red-tailed hawk, adult - it flashed its gorgeous red tail at us.  Sadly the pictures did not come out very well.

I split off from the group and headed back south on my own.

And found yet another hawk at the upper lobe!  He had a squirrel, which he carried over to a tree and left it there.

Then he flew between trees a few times, staying close to where he put the squirrel.  I don't know why he didn't just eat it.  Another question for another day.  :-)

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