Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stinging cold, but not windy

No gulls flying, no hawks in sight, no starlings, no pigeons. Could the cold have driven everything into protective mode??? I had on three layers of everything and decided to stroll. Many of the river ducks were roosting, folded up in the sun, a few swimming about.

On the upper level the sparrows were eating seeds and one sparrow was collecting feathers. This is too early for nesting. Maybe this sparrow is working on an insulation project.

By the underpass tunnel from upper level to lower level there is a reflector, good to prevent collisions between bikes and joggers.

Also very handy for a self portrait. Dressing like an eskimo is a good idea when it's 17 degrees.

No further work has been done on this shabby, throw-together nest. While studying this work-in-progress I saw one of the hawks fly over. I got my usual rotten flight picture. The hawk then circled buildings on Riverside Drive and West End Avenue before heading North. I didn't hang around waiting to see if any construction would take place. It was too cold.

This looked like a frozen prehistoric lizard, but was merely an ice formation on the buoy.

Two omissions

This beauty got blipped out of previous blog. The message, "Where's my food?"

Much sadder, - I can't do anything to help this cat. It won't let a human near it. It was alive, breathing, in the sun, but it's far too cold for any cat to be outside. It makes my heart ache.


All about food

Food is where you find it and where you spot it. When I got to Riverside Park the gulls were floating over my head. That's a fine opportunity to practice flight shots, but why were they there? Were they aiming to "plop" on my head? I looked around. Oh,...... someone had thrown down bread crumbs for the pigeons right by my feet. That drew the gulls. They don't miss a thing when it comes to food.

For the afternoon I went over to Central Park. The shovelers were doing their mix-master routine drawing up food from below the surface. Round and round they went, yummy.

Back to the gulls, this time Central Park, first sitting, and then right next to me. How nice, a photo op, ... but why????? Then I looked down. Once again, someone had scattered bread crumbs and I was standing on the few remaining bits. I moved and the gulls made the crumbs disappear.

The gulls are so sweet looking, but oh boy, can they be aggressive.

Friday, January 29, 2010


It's so nice ambling along, meeting a feathered friend and chatting quietly. I think the little birds recognize the lens. While communicating with the white throated sparrows I heard a different voice and saw slight movement. I knew the voice... a Carolina wren. I froze and let my eyes scan. The wren came and landed on a branch right by my face. Ever so slowly I got the camera into position. I didn't want to startle this beauty. No startle. I looked. Wren looked, then went about the important business of finding food. A couple more birders came along the path and also got to enjoy this sweet bird.

Over by the Shakespeare Garden there were many small birds on the rock, but just before I could get close enough to do a survey a Cooper's hawk zoomed over and everything vanished into wary silence, the great safety disappearing act.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The construction business

If I were in the nest construction business I'd want to pick a spot with overhead protection, side protection on at least one side, sturdy foundation, quiet neighbors, availability of food. My reaction yesterday was, "Oh, NO!!!!!!!"

The Riverside Park hawks are building again. Last year's nest has blown to the ground, an interesting mound of twigs, leaves, fabric.

That nest spot sits vacant. A couple of trees over has drawn their interest, a little sweetgum tree. Instead of a sturdy branch, they've chosen a not-too-sturdy branch. There is no overhead protection. The tree is closer to the river..... more blasting wind exposure. The nest has no protection on any side, so that it's open to attack from any direction. And as for neighbors, there is a squirrel infestation in that cluster of trees, squirrels living in that nest tree, rambunctious squirrels...... think Alvin and the Chipmunks x 50. I was laughing my head off at their antics, -bouncing off trees, flying from limb to limb, romping all over the area. P.T. Barnum, where are you? They ran up and studied the nest while Mrs. Hawk sat on a branch nearer the highway. Mrs. Hawk made no move to chase the squirrels. It would have been futile. There are so many trees in the area with solid spaces for a nest, protection above and on at least one side. Why the hawks are building on this flimsy branch is beyond me. It's similar to the Ramp nest of two years ago. It has that same tilt, higher at one end than the other. Hopefully, this will be a practice construction. It could even be a social activity as they both bring twigs, move them around, stand side by side.

It was so nice to have a chance to chat with these hawks, to tell them how lovely it is to see them hale and hearty, to tell them how beautiful they are, and to whisper, "that's not the best spot for your next home".

And while Mama Hawk took in the sun along came the brat pack, a couple of blue jays. They strafed her, but didn't scream, two attacks and they moved on.

It was worth freezing by the river. Nature is miraculous. Hopefully, this is a practice nest. It's too open to the elements. More solid, more protected locations are available.