March 29, 2010

New RTH pair found north of the Unisphere 3-27-10

After my brief visit to the Unisphere Saturday I decided to head north of the park and see if I could spot the returning male Osprey and hopefully catch him gathering nest material so I could document where the nest is, and also to see if any interesting waterfowl were hanging around Flushing Bay. As I was on my way to exiting Flushing Meadow Park I noticed a murder of crows heading north towards Citifield. They appeared to be after something as all 6 of them were moving quite fast and calling out vociferously. Seconds later I spotted two RTH's circling one another and under attack from the crows. I was quite confused by the appearance of two RTH's in this area because I knew they could not be the Unisphere pair. I had just left the Unisphere and new the male was still sitting on the nest and the female had moments earlier disappeared further west towards the Hall Of Science. I managed to get a few grainy pics of the encounter which lasted for about 2 minutes or so before the RTH pair disappeared over Citifield. I didn't know what to think at that point, and wondered if maybe they were to far away for me to be certain they were RTH's. I decided to continue on towards Flushing Bay.

I walked around the entire Flushing Bay Promenade but had no luck in finding any Osprey. I did manage to see Buffleheads, Lesser Scaups, Black Ducks, Mallards, a single Mute Swan, and two pairs of Red Breasted Mergansers, pictured below.

Red Breasted Merganser Male

 On my way back to the 7 train I saw a rather large bird perched atop a street light overlooking the Grand Central Parkway. As I was heading towards it another large bird had landed on top of it and it appeared that they had mated. Could this be the RTH pair I had seen an hour earlier? After mating the male took off while the female remained perched on the street light. I rushed over there through a maze of highways and boulevard over/underpasses, hoping she wouldn't leave. As I approached her from behind from a distance I couldn't help but think this was something other than an RTH as she was rather huge(perhaps my missing Osprey?). But is was in fact a female Red-tailed Hawk. 

Maybe I'm losing my marbles, but she appears to be larger than any other RTH I have seen so far

As I hovered below her I noticed that she paid no attention to me or the constant flow of traffic all around us. She had her eye on something in the field below her. 

A few minutes later she dove straight down into the field and tried to snag a rat. 

She stuck her claw in the hole the rat came out from but had no luck getting a rat out(I have no pics of this unfortunately as I was to slow and didn't want to frighten her). She returned to a nearby lightpost and shortly after that the male returned.

This pic gives you an idea of the traffic going on around the area

Some Pics of the Male

I followed the pair around for another hour but could not pinpoint where their nest is.

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