Monday, June 25, 2012

Correction to one of my Broad-winged Hawk ID postings yesterday

I'd get into work this morning during my tea break and go onto my blog to access my bookmarks  and take a quick glance at my most recent post and the picture that made me uneasy yesterday, gave me the same gut reaction today.  The picture in question is the one above of what I ID'd as a Broad-winged Hawk taken at Broad Meadow Brook yesterday morning.    I remember hearing the clear "Tee Teeee", of the Broad-winged, and my initial puzzlement of the white scapulars I could clearly see.  Hmmmmm, I'd think.  Don't remember that being a field mark on a  Broad-winged and thought only Red-tailed Hawks had them.  The bird was still pretty far away at this point so inched my way closer for better looks and to get a better estimate on the size of the bird which was hidden by leaf cover.

And would see this.  Yup it's a broad-winged alright based on the rufous-brown barring that I saw so would shove aside my gut reaction to it being a Red-tailed as I tried to get closer.  It would be then that I'd again hear the Broad-winged call and would realize another buteo was nearby and my attention would go to that one as it was out in better view for me to look at.

I'd spend some time looking at one Broad-winged and the other raptor and be struck over how different they looked but realized just like Red-tailed's, Broad-wing's could vary but it gave me the same gut feel I had when I initially spotted the first one.

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.

Where I'd have one going left

And seconds later the other one would be headed right.  I would then feel confident of my ID or both of them being Broad-winged by looking at the rufous barring on the chest and neck and most importantly, the white bold band on the tail that was seen on both birds.

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.

Hmmmmm....Just as I always thought, no white on scapulars, allthough [h] is showing some paleness, but not like what I saw on that first bird.

Now that's more in line with what I saw, but how do I explain the rufous barring on the chest?

Could it be??  HA!  Of course not, I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention that's all.  ;-).  Although in the past this would be my first reaction and I'd call Alan and kindly ask that he meet me or send him photos only to have him tell me it was a lousy Red-tailed so I guess I'm still improving despite my occasional Mis ID's.

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.

And what would this be caused by?  I'd spend a good five minutes looking at this photo as well as similar lousy photos I took and I'd realize the f'in bird is looking over its shoulder at me.  What you see folks isn't the birds chest, but rather its back.

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

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails