Saturday, October 10, 2009

One last pic of "interesting hawk"

10-17-09 Postnote: Tony Leukering, who has extensive professional and birding experience, thinks that this bird is a juvenile light morph Harlan's. Tony is a Senior Ornithologist with Geo-Marine, Inc., "has worked for four different bird observatories from coast to coast." He is the quizmaster for both Colo Field Ornithologists and the American Birding Association.

One of the important field marks for this "interesting hawk" is the large amount of white on it's head. The pics in my earlier posts don't show this very well. The pic above, not a great pic to begin with and made worse by serious enlargement, does show the quite whitish head on this hawk. It may be necessary to double-click on the pic to enlarge it further to see this. While juvenile Eastern Red-tail shares many of the field marks on this bird, they do not have large amount of white that is on this hawk's head. SeEtta

Friday, October 9, 2009

More Quivera NWR birds

The top pic is of an American Pipit in Basic plumage I saw at Quivera NWR.
The bottom pics are of American Avocets, also in Basic plumage, engaged in flock feeding. I will post more pics tomorrow as it's late now. SeEtta

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Black-bellied Plovers at Quivera NWR

In addition to birding at Cheyenne Bottoms during my Kansas trip, I visited Quivera National Wildlife Refuge where I saw this juvenile Black-bellied Plover hot-footing it across the sandy shore of shallow body of water. I did catch it standing still for the pic below. It was quite windy (as it often is on the Kansas plains) and quite cloudy that morning so I was lucky that the sun was out a little for these pics. SeEtta

More pics of interesting hawk

Here are two more pics of the interesting hawk I saw at Cheyenne Bottoms earlier this week. The whitish panels on the upperwings are quite pronounced in these pics. And the underparts are mostly visible in the lower pic. To see the features up close, just double-click on each pic (including those in the previous post). Be aware that the quality diminishes as this bird was over 150 feet when I photographed it so I have already enlarged the pics. Also be aware that there was no rufous on this bird-if any reddish tones appear in the pics this is an artifact of enlarging them so much. SeEtta

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ks trip--interesting Cheyenne Bottoms hawk

I just returned to Colo from a trip to Kansas to see an old friend, and do some birding and exploring. I also attended the fall Kansas Ornithological Society meeting. Three days ago I photographed this Red-tailed Hawk at Cheyenne Bottoms, a great migration stop-over that has been designated a Wetland of International Importance and is the largest marsh in the interior U.S. This hawk was quite wary making it most difficult to get any good photos and all my pics were taken from a distance.This hawk has a lot of white on it's head; Underparts- a white belly without rufous or buff; Upperparts- scapulars mottled with white, white mottled upperwing panels, more white mottling on upperwing coverts; tail-white uppertail coverts with some dark marks, banding that is darkest at the tips of the rectices; Wings-dark patagial marks. These characteristics are all consistent with those of juvenile light morph Harlan's (B. j. harlani) Red-tailed Hawk.

What is not consistent is the dark belly marks (juv light morph Harlan's have streaking per Raptors of Western North America, p. 330, by Brian Wheeler (Jerry Liguori in Hawks from Every Angle says that light morph Harlan's have "broad, distinct streaks on the belly" p. 54).
There is the possibility of an intergrade that might also fit this hawk. Wheeler notes that juvenile Harlan's migrate a little before adults and that some adults are on their wintering grounds, which includes Kansas, by early October so it would seem the timing for this bird would also be consistent with a Harlan's hawk. That said, given all the various races and variations, I will ask for some assistance in determining if this hawk is a juvenile light morph Harlan's or not. SeEtta