Flame Tree, Leaf Mandala and Hawk Watch

Even at the end of October, you would never know that this brilliant green tree in Riverside Park is my favorite flame tree in New York.

But it is. And this year, it fired up brighter than ever. On a chilly day last week, I took photos of the tree, and of the dog with the tree. Then a man came along and offered to take a photo of me with the dog and the tree. Here is a slide show. (If you hover over the image, arrows will appear to click forward. Or you can just let it play by itself.)

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Then I walked north on a leaf-strewn path, the trees and bushes still oddly green.

A Parks worker had told me that he kept seeing one of the Red-tailed hawks hanging out at the playground above Grant’s Tomb, near around 124th Street, hunting squirrels.  I hadn’t seen hawks in the park for a while, so off I went, sheltered by towering trees.

The dog and I walked on leaves like stars.

In the Forever Wild section above 116th Street, someone had created a mandala out of leaves and berries.

Let’s take a closer look.

Ah. Beautiful. Thank you, mysterious maker.

Up at the playground, trees burned orange.

I found no hawks, but the gorgeous colors of a blue-hatted sleeping man with summer-green leaves behind him provided recompense for the walk, had recompense been needed.

Since that walk, I’ve been seeing plenty of hawks. Or the same hawks, plenty of times. I can’t tell which. I see them perched in the park. I see them circling high overhead, and I see them from my window, surveying their domain from the tops of water towers.

I’ll post more on avian water tower action, soon.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2011, Fall, Flora, Hawks, In the City, November, NYC Parks, Riverside Park, Seasons, Wildlife/Natural History

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8 Comments on “Flame Tree, Leaf Mandala and Hawk Watch”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    Interesting that the ginkos in the mandala are green; our ginkos out here are bright yellow, some of the first trees to turn. Beautiful mandala. Beautiful trees. Love the slide show!


    • Oh, the gingkos are yellow here, too, if the leaves are even still on them. I took that photo last week, and the season has certainly progressed. There are gorgeous yellow gingko leaf piles beneath most trees. Glad you liked the slide show. I just figured that out, and wanted to try it.

  2. John Says:

    Love the photograph of the hawk on the water tower. Out here they are often perched atop the light poles watching for rabbits and mice along the freeway between Seattle and Tacoma and Bellevue. Love the mandela too – a budding Goldsworthy in the park. Enjoyed your post as always :)..


    • Thanks, John. I had to look up Goldsworthy, and – wow! I’m so glad you mentioned him. Here is a link to his website for anyone who is curious about this artist’s nature works. And yes, it’s odd how freeways can be good hawk-watching spots, isn’t it?

      • John Says:

        It always makes me happy when someone turns me on to an artist or author I’ve never heard of and, likewise, I’m happy to pass it on :)..

        A woman told me that the hawks smell the leaks in the gas lines (which smell like carrion). I’m sure rodents hide in the grass and bushes in the meridians too :).


        • “leaks in the gas line … smell like carrion” – wonder if that’s true. Strange thought. Wonder if the hawks scout for roadkill, too, which is quite a food source for some wildlife – if they can avoid becoming secondary roadkill, while eating!

  3. Barbara Says:

    Your images make me understand why so many people love New York my oldest son included. He’s a big fan having lived and worked there many years ago. What a slide show Melissa!!! Brilliant. Love this whole blog – and the mandala – now that’s precious.

    I’ll look forward to more on the hawks. My sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks that patrol my feeders haven’t been around yet – I guess they have lots yet in the way of mice and moles. But soon – we have had snow off and on all day – but the warmth of your flame tree reminds me of my cozy fire. I think I’ll go get a book and sit beside it and think of you and Esau under the tree…


    • What a lovely response, Barbara. Thank you. As of yesterday, the flame tree has lost all its leaves. We’re slow-dancing our way into winter here. You are much further along with your snow and cozy fire!


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