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Still around...

Unaccountably, the juvenile hawks are not yet gone. It really should be right around NOW that they go off, but they are still here, crying their little heads off from various perches and in flight. I guess we'll see if they are around next week at all. But in the meantime...


The first sighting this week was courtesy of Jane, who called me from her cellphone at 5:15 pm on Monday the 24th to tell me that there was a hawk in a tree near Massachusetts Hall. I didn't think I could get over there in time, so I didn't try. But when I left work at 6pm, I decided to just walk by there on my way to the T. I really didn't think the hawk would still be there... but in fact, scanning all the big trees around Mass. Hall, I spotted one very quickly, and then a second on in the same tree very quickly after that:


Both are adults, you can see the red tails on the brown lumps. (You will have to go look at the full-size version, I think -- but here is a spotting guide to help):

IMG_0764-2 copy

And then, from another angle (hawk at top, and hawk near bottom):


The angle was a bit challenging, and the sunset light was creating some difficult lighting situations. But here is hawk #1 (lower):


And hawk #2 (higher):


Soon after that shot, hawk #2 flew off north, landing briefly on a chimney on Hollis Hall before flying out of sight. Hawk #1 stayed put, though...




She looked around intently a LOT, but never budged. Even when, at one point, a squirrel ventured out across the broad lawn of the Yard, between trees. (With me standing there mentally willing her to swoop down and get the squirrel. But no.)

Then a noisy juvenile showed up, which I soon tracked down to one of the chimneys on Weld Hall, where it sat and cried and cried and cried:



The next day's lunchtime walk first brought an encounter with a nuthatch, on the locust trees between Lamont Library and Loeb House:


(I saw it fly over, and caught a glimpse of it landing out of the corner of my eye. Since it was head-down on the trunk, I realized it couldn't be a sparrow, and went in for a closer look. There were actually two of them, but I could only get one in shot. This is probably the first time I've actually seen and identified a little bird at Harvard that wasn't a sparrow, robin, jay, mockingbird, or of course, pigeon. Or hawk.)

No good hawk sightings until the end of my walk, when a cry overhead directed my attention to a couple of circling juveniles:


I really wanted to get both in one shot, but wasn't able to. After stopping in Broadway Market and then heading back to the office, I juuuuust heard the sound of a hawk crying before I went inside, so walked around the block to see if I could spot it. Eventually, I did, and then realized that the two who'd been circling up over Broadway had stuck together, and landed together on the cross on top of St. Paul's church at Bow & Arrow Sts.:



By the time I was able to circle around to a spot with less back-lighting on them, they'd both taken off and circled away to the south, out of sight.

Wednesday's only hawk-siting was one up on the favorite First Church weathervane, and the pic didn't turn out well at all.

Thursday, the hot and humid weather had finally broken, and it was clear-aired and cool. It was also move-in day for Harvard freshmen, so the campus was swarming even more than usual.

Spotted this juvenile circling around the Memorial Church weathervane, but he didn't land:



Then I thought to circle around to see if he'd chosen to land on one of the favorite Memorial Hall weathervanes, and he had! Where he sat and, as usual, cried and cried.


One thing notable about the picture above -- slightly visible in this shot, and more visible in some of the others, I think -- his breast right under his head looks kind of round and lumpy. Some research suggests that it's because he has a partially-full crop (which is a pouch in the throat in which the food first goes when a hawk eats; to be transferred bit by bit to the stomach for digesting later).

This is good news! It means that this juvenile, at least, is definitely eating! Yay!

Doing a short circuit on the walk to the T in the evening, there was another juvenile crying up on the favorite weathervane on top of Memorial Church:



I tried to do a bit of filming, in case he took off. But I ran out of battery, and anyway, he was still up there when I finally left the Yard 15 minutes later. As I learned the other week, they can stay a LONG time on some perches.

Finally, this is the map I've been keeping since 7/17, plotting my personal hawk-sightings on it.

hawk-sightings 8-24

You can click through for a more readable copy.

This only shows landings/perches, rather than being an attempt to also show in-air sightings (with one exception -- the sighting in front of Holyoke Center was a swoop-by). The weathervanes of First Church, Memorial Church, and Memorial Hall have by far the most sightings; they are definitely favorite perches, at least for the juveniles (although it's hard to tell whether some I've spotted up there have been adults).


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 28th, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
What a gorgeous portrait shot that first one is!
Aug. 28th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
I imagine a sexy voice saying: "Hello. Share this branch with me, my lovely?"

Randy bird.
Aug. 28th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
Yes! What she said!
Aug. 28th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
Great photos! It's funny that they cry a lot. Are they still begging their parents for food with their cries, or just keeping in touch with each other?

Do you know anything about Harris Hawks? I think you'd be interested in them- they hunt in packs, like wolves!
Aug. 28th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
So wonderful. And some amazing shots. YAY!
Aug. 29th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
I'm really impressed by your wonderful photography these past weeks. That first shot here is especially pretty with the dappled sun on the hawk's color patterns, but the solo flight overhead is my favorite. It'd make a neat icon.

(As long as I'm here, I'm going to poke you *poke* to consider signing up for The Ficathon.) :)

*pokes again*
Aug. 29th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
the solo fligh with wings spread is indeed also gorgeous.

i would suggest that my nagging you to buy a new camera has been entirely worth it. you can see all the feathers!
Aug. 29th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
It's so cool how the sunlight show through and we can see each one. Nice nagging! :)

Aug. 29th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
I also forgot to mention how much I like those little nuthatches. Little birds are always getting into my house, and I've actually been able to hold one in my hands. A couple weeks ago it was a hummingbird, with his long little tongue hanging out across my thumb. I so wished for a camera, and a third hand. :)
Aug. 29th, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
Oh, they're stunning! Thank you for sharing.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )