Self Isolating at State Line Lookout

What animal is an aerial acrobat? It travels at lightning speeds and you are amazed it does not crash when it lands on a cliff? The animal I speak of is the peregrine falcon. A great spot to view them is the State Line Lookout in New Jersey.

When I heard New Jersey might limit movement in the state, I decided to run down across the New York border and go to State Line Lookout. This park is a scenic spot to visit.

Location

State Line has its own exit off the Palisades Parkway. It is not far south of the NYS border. There is a nice parking area and a restaurant and gift shop. Both the restaurant and gift shop are closed though currently due to Corona Virus. To set the GPS the street is State Line Lookout in Alpine, NJ. The park is at the highest point of the Palisades. It is 532 feet above the river. There are updrafts along the cliffs that attract raptures.

I found out about this park through a couple of bird enthusiasts. The park is popular with serious photographers. The big guns were there. My equipment is only worth a small fraction of their equipment. These photographers were a friendly bunch and helped direct this first time visitor to good viewing spots.

The stone walls are close to the cliffside and not too high, so be careful.
This appears to be Yonkers, NY on the other side of the river. New York City is just south of Yonkers.

The park is along the Hudson River where it divides New York and New Jersey. Westchester County, New York is viewable on the other side of the River.

Falcons

The star attraction are the peregrine falcons that nest cliffside. They frequently put on aerial shows. Sometimes they land in neighboring trees or on the walls. From the viewing areas you can often find them perched on an outcrop or tree. One caught a bird with dark gray feathers and landed just below where we were standing. Feathers from their prey drifted up to us in the updrafts.

A tree was between where the falcon was and where I was standing. This was actually the closest I got to one of them. It was still a distance away.
Here one is perched on a branch of a tree sticking out of the cliff. Look toward the middle of the photo on the cliff.
This is a pair that is currently mating. I missed the show. A half hour prior they mated in a tree.

Other Attractions

Other attractions are hawks. In autumn 14 species of hawks pass through on their way south. Red tailed hawks and Cooper hawks fly around the park. They also have hiking trails.

If you are a bird enthusiast or are on a long trip and want a spot to take a break, stop by the State Line Lookout in New Jersey. The views are worth the trip.

Peregrine Falcons of York Minster

What can you see at York Minster besides the cathedral itself? If you look up at the minster you can see the gargoyles and grotesques, but you may also see a nesting pair of peregrine falcons.

Since around 2015 there has been a nesting pair of Peregrine falcons at York Minster. During the 2018 they were reported to have raised four young. Two of the three times I visited York I was able to spy some falcons flying around the minster, landing on grotesques and the towers.

I saw this one in July 2017. It was resting next to a nearby building’s chimney pot. A birdwatcher told me this was a young one on its first day of flight.

If you are going to try to catch these birds of prey, bring a powerful pair of binoculars or a zoom lens. They land pretty high up on the minster. Whether you are a birder or not, they are enjoyable to see in flight.

For more information check out a Twitter page devoted to the York Minster Falcons: https://twitter.com/YorkPeregrines?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Or this website: http://www.yorkperegrines.info/wp/