Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's a Red-tailed Hawk! Where We Left off.....

(All unspecified times are AM.)
The hawk appeared to go behind those bare oak trees.   She isn't perched in the trees therefore she either kept going or more to my mind she likely used the trees as a blind to where ever else she was actually going.  She could be behind me by now.

So what do you do?

In this case I decide to scan the 360 degrees around where I'm standing.

 No hawk.  But then I see some Red-winged Blackbirds.
 Most of which appear to not be looking at me which I might think they would as I'm so close but rather most are looking right.  Maybe they know something I don't.
 I turn and scrutinize the area.  Nothing so far.  How about a little further.
 Next? No.  About now is when I begin to imagine a Red-tail watching me and thinking how ill equipped humans are when it comes to vision.
 I catch movement from the corner of my eye, I look back.  See the hawk somewhat masked by the center tree.  It is almost as if she is attempting to attract my attention.
 Off she goes into the sky.  But still pointed in my direction.  She's coming my way. isn't the same Red-tailed hawk.  She has no visible belly band whatsoever and I think she may be a bit smaller.  Therefore as both hawks have been seen in the same small patch of sky and don't appear to be ready to duke it out, I'll hypothesize for the moment that this is the male of a pair.
 And as a recap, this is the previous Red-tail from the same patch of sky.  She has a definite belly band.  

Upon comparison she doesn't really look all that much bigger.  There possibly goes my bias that in a pair with one lighter hawk and one  darker,  I tend to see the darker hawk to be the female as that is what I am accustomed to seeing. 

But enough musing, back to No Belly Band...
 We'll call this hawk NBB, short for No Belly Band.
NBB's head is very much lighter than his back at least in this light.
   He banks.

 Soars.  He is still far more distant than this cropped picture appears.
    See him center under the 3rd wire down?

11:56:27 Then he banks towards the trees and then keeps flying into the distance.
11:56:29  And 2 seconds later suddenly there are two hawks.  I have no idea where she appeared from.

11:56:33  Four seconds later one of the hawk appears and is much closer to the trees. 
11:56:33 Same photo as above with a more extensive crop.  The brow is light but the head not nearly as pale as NBB's appears earlier.  Light on feathers can change depth of color so one has to be careful.

11:56:42  11 seconds later.

And it is No Belly Band.   His head looks a touch lighter at this angle of light. 
11:56:43 AND then he's gone... bang...into the trees. 

 11:56:10 Here's a crop.  He's up center...heading down in a dive through the branches.

11:57:10  Bam!   he's gone and then I cannot spot the clever little bugger.

11:57:21 Still no joy.

12:00:41 PM  Oh ho!  A hawk flies up, out of the trees.

12:00:43 And turns to fly off .  I do believe I see a belly band.  They've switched on me again.

12:00:56 PM And then Belly Band, BB,  swoops back into other branches 10 seconds later.  See her up left center?

12:01:00 PM  Then she flies through the canopy.  If the trees were leaved I would have been hard pressed to have ever seen her.

12:01:04 PM  Then up and out into the sky.

12:01:13 PM  Nine seconds later she's zoomed down into the trees again and is flying the lower level.
 12:01:17 PM In another four she is into a tree crown.  She's good!

12:01:24 PM Then out of the trees and into the sky.
 12:01:26 PM  She catches the currents and soars.

To be continued...

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne