Hawk Watch, April 6

It’s a nice change of pace, as a former waterbird counter, to be looking south all day when there is a strong north wind. Conditions were gusty with variable cloud cover, with some brief appearances of the sun throughout the day. Raptors started out nice and steady, but once it hit noon a barrage of Red-tailed Hawks rolled through. Between 12:00 and 1:00pm I had 223 Red-tailed Hawks, which at times was quite intense to keep track of because the wind was blowing them everywhere and not many were crossing. By 3:00pm, movement had almost completely stopped. Highlights among the Red-taileds were at least 21 Northern Red-tailed Hawks (among many, many candidates that I couldn’t focus on or photograph), 1 dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk, and 1 leucistic individual who was primarily white with a few dark feathers and 1-2 red tail feathers. Much to my disappointment, the leucistic bird was a bit too far for me to manage a photograph. However, I don’t think it crossed yesterday because it made another brief appearance an hour or so after the initial sighting and then disappeared beneath the trees. Hopefully it’ll reappear tomorrow much closer. Other highlights include a single immature Golden Eagle, an adult female Northern Harrier, and the local Merlin pair harassing a low-passing Red-tailed Hawk.

Turkey Vulture – 45
Bald Eagle – 6
Northern Harrier – 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 6
Red-tailed Hawk – 392
Rough-legged Hawk – 4
Golden Eagle – 1

Adult Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola)
Adult Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola)
Adult Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola)
Adult Eastern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis borealis)
Adult dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis calurus)
Juvenile Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)

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