Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sharp-shinned Hawk Soaring

 These pictures are such huge crops that they are very grainy and blurry. So why post them?  Well, it was just last week that I reported that I had never seen a Sharp-shinned Hawk soar.  Up until then I have only seen them sitting on branches and swooping in fast and low to take its prey.
 Well, that changed on Sunday while in Bauline East.  I had spotted two very interesting little birds fly into the woods and disappear. I kept hoping that they would reappear for an identification.  That didn't happen. While patiently waiting, I spotted a hawk soaring very, very high overhead. There was no chance to identify it with binoculars.  Thanks to some good lighting I was able to get some shots that are identifiable.
 It is very interesting how a wrong perception of a bird's behaviour can impede identification. I was so confident that a Sharpie didn't soar that even the markings didn't convince me that this was the common, everyday Sharp-shinned Hawk. I guess I was thinking in a box.
This bird looked really big in the distance and it kept circling and moving farther and farther away. This behaviour was more typical of my experience with a Northern Goshawk or a Northern Harrier, not a Sharp-shinned Hawk. While we didn't get any great birds that day, I did learn a good lesson that both behaviour AND field markings add up to a correct ID.

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