Posted tagged ‘NYC red-tailed hawk’

Riverside Park Hawk in Bare Branches

November 20, 2011

Bare leaves make for good hawk watching. Last Sunday, Riverside Park looked like this from the upper promenade on Riverside Drive.

A mix of color and bare branches.

The dog and I went down the stone stairs to walk along the path just below the retaining wall. Around 112th Street, we spotted a bump on a bare branch, silhouetted against the sky.

Bare branches give the gift of easy wildlife spotting.

Let’s take a closer look.

What's that branch bump?

We passed beneath it, and looked up. A gorgeous red-tailed hawk peered down at us,

Oh, it's you. Where have you been?

then turned its attention to a squirrel rustling in the leaves beneath the retaining wall.

Keeping an eye on the park's rodents, so you don't have to.

We walked on and turned back.


A little further on still, and you can see how what a boon bare branches are to hawk spotting.

Anyone there?

NYC Raccoons and Red-tails in Winter

February 22, 2011

Snow frosted the city yesterday.

Broadway and Riverside split at 107th Street, looking lovely

The water towers wore white skull caps.

A crow surveys 109th Street from atop a water tower

Esau was on the alert for wildlife


but the park was quiet

Steps lead toward the river

The retaining wall is always beautiful, and especially so with a dusting of snow.

Raccoons live here.

The entrance to the large raccoon den is once again piled with snow.

I once saw six raccoons emerge from this hole in the wall.

It’s been over a month since I’ve seen a raccoon here, and I’m starting to worry. Raccoons in northern climates pack on the fat in autumn so that they can spend less time foraging in the coldest days of winter and more time curled up in their den. They don’t actually hibernate, but they may sleep away several weeks of bitter weather, living off their fat stores and waiting for milder days. It’s been a cold and snowy winter, so maybe my Riverside Park raccoons are just dozing away the cold and dreaming of spring. But still I worry. (Check back soon for an update on raccoon rabies in NYC.)

Sledders were out

Traipsing up the hill

as were walkers

A man strolls in an only-in-New-York fuchsia faux-fur coat

ice dancers

Olympics pairs, they are not

and a single cross-country skier

Heading south

as well as a passel of happy dogs.

Happy but headless snow dogs

No birds to be seen yesterday.

Branches empty of animals

Unlike Sunday, when a hawk devoured a songbird on the bare ground beneath the retaining wall

Red-tail takes a break from pulling entrails

The snow had finally melted in parts of the park

Back to work

and the hunting was good

Do you mind? I'm eating here.

After a few minutes, the hawk soared over my head, so low that I ducked to avoid contact with the carcass gripped in his talons.  He swooped up to a branch high above the ground in search, perhaps, of privacy from paparazzi like me

Alone at last

And there, finally taking the hint, I left him to his meal.

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