Monday, October 26, 2009

Raptors, sun dogs

Half a dozen crows were grazing in the fenced-in section of the baseball fields in Prospect Park this afternoon. (The City Birder has some good maps of the scene.) I saw an accipiter fly over, then swoop down to roil the crows. The accipiter, a Coopers hawk or Sharp-shinned hawk, I wasn’t sure which, went off to some trees by the wildflower meadow, and the crows followed. I was scanning the trees, watching the crows move about, the accipiter spinning around them, when I put down my binoculars for a minute. A merlin zoomed by at eye-level. The fenced area, free of dogs and idiots, has been a bonanza of grass-loving species, and so consequently, the bird-eating raptors have been having a good old time there, too. A little later, the merlin and the accipiter had a lengthy dogfight over the baseball fields around 3:40, the slightly smaller merlin being the aggressor. It was spectacular sight, not least because there were pieces of rainbow and sun dogs in the sky. At one point, the two raptors were passed by a commercial jet (much higher above them).

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