Was it just two days ago I was moaning about not being able to capture raptors in flight? I think so. And yesterday afternoon i went to Gooseberry and while walking down the central road I saw what I am sure was a marsh hawk off in the distance. Even in the 300mm telephoto it looked like this.
But if you zoom in, this dude looks like this. So why am I so sure it’s a Harrier? Marsh Hawk? I’m rarely absolutely sure, but my confidence is high on this one becuase there’s no neck, a long tail, grey body, and the outer wings are light grey. That all fits. But I am used to identifying hawks – and a few other birds – in flight, not by their markings, but by their flight pattern, environment, and behavior. This bird flew low. following the contours of the land, alternately flapping and gliding. This is the perfect kind of hunting territory for the Marsh Hawk – the brush being loaded with small birds, as well rabbits and rodents. And the Marsh Hawk flies and hunts this way. This even more distant shot shows a wing shape typical of a marsh Hawk gliding which you can find in “the Sibley Guide to Birds.”
Well – that’s one of my easy hawks. Now if I can only catch the speedy, smaller Merlin! And, of course, I’d like better shots of the Marsh Hawk.
Meanwhile, the Monarch migration continues its hot pace. I took a brief walk on the central road for about 30 minutes maximum – probably a bit less – and I saw 29 Monarchs! So if anything, there were more than the day before which was a peak day for my observation this year. (Saw lots of dragon flies yesterday in my backyard – they also migrate about this time – but didn’t see any at Gooseberry. )
OH – and this was an “LBJ Day” for me – that stands for “Little Brown Jobbies.” In other words, I saw several of these just a bit osuth of the parking lot, they seemed to like scrounging in the road. But I haven’t yet identified them.