Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens. Near JFK Airport, this is an oasis for shorebirds and other migrants.
The best bird we saw Monday was a large female peregrine falcon, a hawk that can strike and kill a duck in flight. I saw it fly over the large West Pond twice, trying to spook swimming ducks into taking flight. Marie saw it overhead another time, ten feet above her, gliding slowly for a falcon.
The peregrine is this world's fastest animal - when diving it can go 200 miles per hour.
In Manhattan peregrines nest on bridges, skyscrapers, hospitals and churches. There they mostly dine on city pigeons a la carte.
Marie and I have birded Jamaica Bay over one hundred times and this was our best sighting of a peregrine there.