When the crows arrived I would see the hawk in the first picture take off so my eyes immediately went to the other hawk hoping to get a picture of it as it was about to take flight.
I'd then be on my merry way along the trail and hear the Broad-winged again so out would come the bins hoping I could get a look at them in flight which is how I'm used to IDing these hawks.
But after seeing the first bird on a different computer monitor and better lighting at work, I still wasn't convinced. I'd do some googling during lunch of juvenile Broad-winged Hawks which would be maddening due to many pictures showing some white on the juves backs and then others with nothing. To make matters worse there are a lot of photos out there where the hawk is ID'd as a Broad-winged, when it is obviously a Red-tailed or Red-shouldered which drives me crazy so imagine my panic thinking I was a contributor with my recent post. ;-).
I'd leave work early realizing another raptor mystery was making me neurotic (last week the Peregrines), but went right to my various hawk ID books to finally put my mind at ease.
Anyhow, with all that said and done, I believe I've solved the mystery and with egg on my face, I'm going to go with my first gut reaction and call the first bird a Red-tailed Hawk.
So how do we explain the fact that I saw two Broad-winged Hawks in flight and the Crows and Blue Jays? We can't. For all I know the one going right was the one going left as a clear view line was impossible due to tree cover and both the Blue Jay's and Crows were tag teaming the same bird.
Now that I've solved the mystery though I'm still mystified over the entire encounter as I had no idea two different species of buteos could hang out like bosom buddies the way these two were. Not only were they in side by side trees but both flew off at the time time. I'm also mystified by how hidden my friend above is in leaf cover as I'm used to seeing Red-tailed more toward the outer part of tree branches so it's another mystery I guess I'll never get an answer to.
So there you have it folks. My once a year reminder to always trust your gut and don't make a Red-tailed into a Broad-winged. The Internet will never forgive you!
Take care all