Animal Behavior and Conservation Connections LLC Show

Yesterday was the big day to see the third peregrine falcon that hatched on May 6 this year at 101 Hudson in Jersey City.  I had the extreme honor of being present during the chick check when the nestlings were eight days old.  One had deformed legs and there was no way it could compete for food with its aggressive siblings.  The difficult decision to remove the chick was made by Kathy Clark, NJ Fish and Wildlife biologist.  We had little hope the bird would survive.   My buddy, Mike, and I named our little guy Legs.

Legs eventually made his remarkable journey to Mr. Phung Luu, Animal Behavior and Conservation Connections, LLC in Dover, Delaware.  Legs has yet to ‘earn’ his new name, but he definitely is a star and he knows it.  On his second public show he appeared extremely at ease with the huge crowds at the Delaware Nature Society’s Harvest Moon Festival.

“I wish I had a falcon.”

Legs preening as we arrived at the festival. He is totally at ease.
Jackie adores Legs and Legs tells Jackie he adores her, too.
Legs is the geatest looking young falcon in the world.
He just let the crowd admire him.
He continued to preen and remain quite comfortable for most of the show.
You can see his legs look absolutely perfect.
Legs has not flown yet, but he is certainly quite ready.
This is as far as he got on his flirst flight. He got right back up on his perch. He will fly soon.
There is one little thing that he has not quite accepted.
Phung Luu is committed to positive reinforcement and does not press the issue.
Positive reinforcement does work if one is patient. Legs is still deciding how to best manipulate the humans who serve him.
Legs is learning about the food reward for working. For most of his life humans have just delivered the food. Now he has to earn his living.
Legs has house mates now.
Hopefully they will show him proper raptor behaviors.
All of the birds owned by Phung Luu are not releasable into the wild.
And all the birds are fantastic ambassadors.
But sometimes they get to take little vacations in the wild. This turkey vulture put on his own show for the folks on the other side of Cloverdale Farm.

Everything But the Wheatear

All the serious birders on the east coast were at the Croton Train Station Boat Ramp a few weeks ago getting a look at the very rare wheatear.  I saw mention of it, but never took the five minute trip to see it.

I did manage to photograph my usual subjects.

Cormorants on the Croton River snags. The seagull got the fish.
Little Snowy Egret on the Croton River
Young swan with its parent on the Croton River
Young mallard on the Croton River
Mallard family. The kids are growing up.
This flicker was looking over his family. He is in the red tailed hawk
Here is the flicker family at Croton Point Park.
This young red tailed hawk is looking for rats in the red tailed tree at Croton Point Park.
Sparrow family grooming in my dogwood bush.
This young woodpecker is about the size of a red bellied, but has the markings of a downy.


After ten years I finally have a desire to visit the World Trade Center site.  Here are pictures of what the area around Ground Zero looks like today.    On this day ten years ago, from far away you could see the wind swirling the ash high into the sky.  I have always felt that ash carried the Spirits that are now in the air we breathe.

From Jersey City looking over the Hudson River to Ground Zero:

Pictures on the Jersey City 9/11 Memorial Steel Beam
Jersey City World 9/11 Memorial Pictures on World Trade Center Steel Beam
Jersey City World Trade Center Memorial Steel Beam
Jersey City World Trade Center Memorial Firefighter with Ground Zero Behind
Jersey City World Trade Center Memorial Firefighter's Feet
Jersey City World Trade Center Memorial
Jersey City Freedom Fighter statue World Trade Center Memorial Tower in background

The birds fly on the wind where we breathe our Spirits.  The Jersey City peregrine falcons, 55 Water Street peregrine falcons and Riverside Church falcons are thriving in the air around the World Trade Center Memorial.

101 Hudson, Jersey City Peregrine Fledglings, 2011
55 Water Street, NYC (six blocks from Ground zero) Mother and Eyas
Riverside Church Peregrine Falcon (many birds from this site have gone on to establish families of their own in and around NYC)

And a few names from the Jersey City Memorial:

Jersey City World Trade Center Memorial Names

A Visit from my Grandson

I had the wonderful privilege of my youngest six year old grandson making a visit.  He will probably be a big time birder.  We went out two days in a row and he had the patience and persistence to just keep watching.  He could have hung in there much longer than I.  We got to see a Great Egret and the usual seagulls and geese.  We were looking for shorebirds, great blue herons and osprey, but Hurricane Irene wrecked the shore and the waters remain quite high.  Before my grandson got here, I managed to see some other nice birds.

My grandson and I caught this one preening.  We also saw it catch a fish, but my picture of the egret with fish at DeKorte was much better.

We ended our unproductive search for the great blue herons with this mockingbird:

Before my grandson’s visit, I saw these guys at Croton Landing:

A raven at Croton Point Park:

I caught my local red tailed hawk at Croton Point Park.  I thought the bird would fly off over the landfill in the direction it is looking here.

Silly me.  The hawk turned and did not want me catching its squirrel.

Again, I had a teleconverter on the big lens.  I should have just left things alone.

Yup, coming right over the top of me.  Wrong settings and lens.  Thought it would go in the other direction.

Swallow Me Up

The backlash of Hurricane Irene arrived carrying very strong winds.  I was hoping to see eagles soaring and enjoying the air above the Croton Train Station Boat Landing.  The swallows along the Senasqua Bay part of the Croton Bay at the boat landing were hanging onto the trees as best they could.   I have posted a series of pictures that shows how the birds coped.  I believe there are several species of swallows trying to stay on the branches – tree and barn, plus another.

This shows where the swallows were.  It is on the Senasqua Bay, north part of the Croton Train Station Boat Landing.  Those dots on the branches are swallows.

Please know that the title of this post has a very sad, tragic meaning.  Just after I photographed the swallows at Croton Train Station Boat Landing during the backlash from Hurricane Irene, five people were in a boat on the Croton River when it overturned.  One person perished.  Another clung to a tree for two hours before he could be rescued.  The three man rescue team that went to help was swept out to the Hudson River in the current under the train trestle.  They had to be rescued from the Hudson.  I did not see the boat or rescue.  It was low tide, but the tide was higher than I have ever seen it at high tide.  And the current was moving much faster than I have ever noticed.

Hurricane Irene is For the Birds

Birds and humans and dogs made it through the storm.  As you can see from the pictures, bird life outside went on as usual.  Inside birds just napped and squawked at the rats trying to take shelter under the house.

Pre Hurricane Irene birds on Saturday.  They don’t look too worried about the hurricane.

Just as the hurricane passed over, the birds returned to the feeders.  It is actually raining in this picture.

Enjoy the video Hurricane Irene is For the Birds

DeKorte Park, New Jersey

I went on a peregrine pilgrimage to this fabulous area today.  My friend, Mike, comes here often and can’t praise the bird photography opportunities enough.  I made my way around the marsh for over three hours and was rewarded with some wonderful shots.  My bird ID skills are not the greatest, but I think you will find great egrets, sandpipers, lesser yellow legs, tern and a monarch butterfly.  I like the two egrets the best.

Kissing Cousins?

The terns fishing were the hit of the day.

The egrets fishing were not so bad, either.

This one kept his eye on me.

This little baby was following its mother everywhere.

What’s for Lunch?

The day would not have been complete without a flying egret shot.

Osprey Overhead

I managed to make it up to Annsville Circle to check out the eagles.  The bird flying over the eastern estuary was definitely an osprey.  I got very excited when I thought an immie eagle was overhead at the Paddlesport Park.  It was just another one of those numerous osprey sitings.  This time the bird was playing talon tag with a seagull.  I included a few pictures of an osprey from a couple of weeks ago.  These are probably all the same bird.  The really overexposed picture was printed on water color paper and looked like a painting.  The glossy print and internet versions do not do the photography justice.

Osprey at Annsville Circle, 2011

Osprey at Shattemuc Yacht Club, 2011

Osprey at Croton Point Park, 2011

Looking for Eagles

The weather is fabulous today.  There is sunshine, low humidity and temps in the 80s.  The Hudson River sparkled.  Just missed a flock of swans swooping overhead as they checked out a new landing spot.  The little birds stole the show.  The eagles were in hiding.

Swans at Croton Boat Landing Train Trestle, 2011

Seagull on a Foggy Morning, Croton Boat Landing, 2011

(Hudson River School of Photography)

Young Killdeer? Croton Boat Landing, 2011

Cedar Waxwing Fledglings, Croton Point Park, 2011

Robin Fledgling in my Backyard, 2011