Hunting at Bethesda Fountain

A squirrel was crying around 3:15 on Oct. 28 on the west path leading down to Bethesda Fountain. I had been looking for the two first-year red-tailed hawks we saw earlier this week, but despite the plaintive sounds from the squirrel, I couldn't find a hawk.

Around 5:15, we went in search of the kids again, and coming to the same tree, we found the squirrel a little lower, still very, very nervous. Going farther up the path, a red-tailed hawk, with a red tail, was spotted in a tree over Terrace Drive. The hawk took off for the tree on the west side of the balcony, and then flew down into the ivy after a rat.

  A visiting young adult red-tailed hawk near Bethesda Fountain, Oct. 28, 2016

A visiting young adult red-tailed hawk near Bethesda Fountain, Oct. 28, 2016

The youngster missed, then flew down toward the Lake. We found the hawk in a tree to the east of the fountain. We chased the hawk as it flew around, at one point going onto one of the decorated ornaments near the stairs.

When last seen, as the sun was going down, the hawk was on a tree on Cherry Hill, look very regal. When the raptor flew again, it was south, and we couldn't relocate the bird.

  The young adult on Cherry Hill

The young adult on Cherry Hill

The red tail tells us the hawk is an adult, the amber eyes a young one. At first we wondered if this was Fred or Sheep Meadow Papa, but after watching, we decided the bird is a visiting young adult. A delight, wherever the hawk came from.

The video shows the hawk throughout the evening, until we could no longer really see into the trees.