Monday, December 24, 2018

Bad Bird Photo of the Week

A Rough-legged Hawk, light morph.

Although you wouldn't know it from this image.

We did get vey good looks though several scopes. Both perched and flying (where we saw the "black wrists" on its wings).

🦅  🦅  🦅  🦅  🦅

Patty, who subscribes to every possible bird alert for our area, (along with some for area's we've visited and more areas we've yet to visit) noticed that the hawk had been seen just a few miles up the road from us, and suggested we try to see it Sunday morning. She did this around midnight, as we were cleaning up from our second annual Winter Solstice Yule Log Bonfire & Music Jam (where a good time was had by all!). I was a bit sleepy and didn't pay much attention (she'll wonder what being sleepy had to do with it).

But the next morning she suggested it again. And, after texting a few birding friends, we were off to the Burlington County Fairgrounds. We arrived, after having picked up two friends, Lori and Barb, and met one friend who was already there, Bernie, (another, Kerry, had yet to arrive). The fairgrounds includes a large grassland area, unfortunately off limits to the public, so we broke out the scopes and started scanning.

We saw a variety of raptors: a pair of Bald Eagles, multiple Northern Harriers, a Red-tailed Hawk, an American Kestrel, and several soaring Turkey Vultures. And of course the Rough-legged Hawk.

It was the Red-tailed Hawk which led us to the bird. Or rather led us to a birder who had the bird in his scope (the best kind of birder, that who has already located the bird). The red-tail was sitting in a tree, silhouetted by the morning sun. Prompting us to move to a better viewing location. Where we met Larry Zirlin, WaWa connoisseur and purveyor of the fine Birds & Words blog, and who we had last crossed paths with at the Trenton Sewage Treatment Plant. He had already made the same journey from one end of the fairgrounds road to the other and gladly let us look through his scope while we set ours up. There is always a worry that the bird will fly before one gets a good look. But not this bird, it sat on this bush, giving good but distant views. And even when it did fly it returned to its apparently favorite perch.

🍵  🍵  🍵  🍵  🍵

We watched the hawk, and others, chatted about local birding, spotted some Eastern Meadowlarks among the European Starling flock, and watched as the harriers harried the rough-legged and red-tailed hawks. Larry wished us happy holidays and took his leave, off to bird other local patches, and the rest of us, having all been up late enjoying the bonfire said our goodbyes and headed home. Where some very yummy chicken noodle soup awaited us (thanks Roni!).

A very nice way to start Christmas week.

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