New York City: Part One

Posted by ardeidae on June 09, 2005

Carol and I arrived back in Los Angeles today after having a great time in New York City. It was the first time there for both of us, and it seemed like such a short time. We spent our time sharing the roles of tourist, birder, and vacationer in general, while absorbing the sights, sounds, tastes, and vibes of such an energetic city.

New York’s Spring has been cold compared to years past, so I made sure to pack some long-sleeved shirts. I ended up covering my arms only once, as summer quickly set in starting on the second day there.

We took the red-eye out of LAX Wednesday night and landed at JFK around 7:30 Thursday morning, where we met our car to take us into Manhattan. I highly recommend a car/limo service…it’s less expensive than a cab and a much better ride. When we arrived at the hotel, it was too early to check in, so we got some breakfast and headed to the east side of Central Park, at the Conservatory Water (Boat Pond) near 74th to see if we could catch a glimpse of Pale Male and Lola, our main reason for visiting NYC.

We weren’t able to spot Pale Male or Lola, but we did see a man setting up a spotting scope and a photo display a couple of benches away, so we stopped by to see what was going on. His name is Rik Davis and he’s a professional photographer and general watcher of the two hawks. He filled us in on the nesting situation. I’ve been following palemale.com, a site maintained by Lincoln Karim, but Rik provided a lot of details of the current situation. The clutch of eggs laid in March didn’t hatch and Pale Male and Lola eventually gave up on them. There were a few factors that played into this. In December, the coop building decided to remove the nest structure. A couple weeks later, after controversy and protests, a new structure was installed. A short time later, the hawks returned and started rebuilding the nest. Unfortunately, this spring was unusually cold, and since this was a new nest, it wasn’t weather-tight as the old one that was built up over ten years. In addition, the new structure allows cold air to pass underneath the nest. Although they gave up on the eggs, they have been seen mating, so maybe there’s a chance for a second clutch.

We spent some time talking with Rik and watching for Pale Male and Lola, but they were a no-show so we decided to walk back to the hotel so we could check in and get some much-needed sleep, since we weren’t able to catch much on the plane.

That night I had my first encounter with New York City pizza. I’m not going into detail about it here, but if you ever go to NYC, it should be one of the first things you do.

To be continued…


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