I have always wanted to see an owl in the wild. This past week or so I got my chance. I have caught sight of one each day on a walking trail in a nearby park. I wasn’t sure which kind of owl it was, so I asked my birding friends. The conclusion was a barred owl. The call I have been hearing was not the typical call a few days into finding them. The ones I have sighted use a different call.
Barreds owl have brown eyes and a small yellow beak. It is named after the bars on its chest.They have no ear tufts.
Barred owls live in older growth forests where they have a better chance of nesting in a tree cavity. This park has lots of trees that fit that category. They also like to be near water. This park is on the Hudson River in New York. They will take over nests of other birds though as well.
I am so happy I had the chance to see an adult and the baby owl. The who-oo of a parent led me to see them and the baby. I kept a respectful distance. While you enjoy nature, be quiet and be observant, you never know what you will see.
Do birds eat other birds? Would a hawk eat an eagle? I know birds will eat other birds. I am still not sure I know the answer to the second question.
Mother eagle was sitting in the next with the young baby eagle (maybe a week or two after it hatched). Along came a hawk circling over head then proceeded to buzz around the nest. As he got near the nest the mother eagle started loudly screeching.
Arriving quickly was the father eagle. Father eagle chased the hawk away then proceeded to sit on a neighboring tree. After a while, the hawk returned and the father eagle chased him away again. Father eagle hung out for a while for good measure, then flew away.
I have seen videos online of eagles defending the nest. One shows an eagle killing and eating a hawk that attacked. Eagles and hawks it seems are natural enemies. Will an hawk eat a baby eagle? Will it just try to kill it? Do you know the answer?
What travel restrictions do we currently have in New York? They want us to stay at home as much as possible and only go out for essential items like food, business at home related purchases, pharmacy trips, and we are also allowed to go to parks and wildlife refuges to exercise. I decided to see if I could catch the eagles after working at home a couple of days ago.
These eagles live quite close to me. In fact there are more and more nests near me. I found another one near a walking trail this week. However, for some reason they restrict the land around the nest of that one more than any of the others. Out of respect for what they ask I did not get close to that nest. The pictures below show one nest one afternoon in order.
It is always fun to watch the eagles after the babies hatch. There is a lot more activity coming and going from the nest. They bring in more grass, and they bring in fish or other land animals like squirrel. If you are working at home and self isolating, go out to observe nature. It can bring joy to your day.
I went to hunt eagles, not literally. I am an eagle fan or eagle paparazzi. I like trying to capture any animal that is not dangerous to try to capture with my camera. I went after working at home to try to catch the eagles. It was a gloomy, gray day with not an optimal amount of light. On my way into the park, I caught sight of a fox.
The eagle watching did not pan out. After a little while I decided to leave, when low and behold on the way out I saw the fox again at a distance near the outside edge of the park. He was very interested in this deer. He was also very interested in seeing what I was doing.
Do fox eat deer? It appeared he was. He took a bit that could have been his entrails and ran off into the woods. Did you know fox would eat a deer? I certainly did not. It appears they may go after a live fawn, but otherwise they would eat on a deer carcass.
It is the act of separating oneself from others. Self isolation is the new norm. Physically separating oneself is necessary in these times, however, remaining connected to others through social media, phone conversations etc. is important as well.
I would love to have been doing day trips to places farther away, but that is not prudent right now. The best thing to do is self isolate in nature. Parks are open and wildlife preserves are still open. It is a great way to maintain adequate distance and get some needed fresh air. Here are some animals I saw recently in nearby parks still open.
Everyone keep in contact with friends and family, follow what they ask you to do, stay safe and stay healthy. Keep a positive attitude. Clean or organize your house if you now find yourself with extra time. Put on positive music. I am in different What’s App groups with different people who meet regularly to stay positive and stay in touch. Watch a church service online. Think of others. We shall all get through this together.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.