Saturday, March 31, 2012

Red Car Property: Hawkwatch

Photo: Diane Edwardson, March 28, 2012, 9:44 AM.  I heard what sounded like a hawk atop the huge California Black Walnut near the Adelbert cut-through.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Straining to see in the the bright light and zooming in on the bird, it appears it was a Mockingbird doing hawk calls.  
Photo: Diane Edwardson, March 28, 9:46 AM.  A few minutes later, taken in by the Mockingbird, a rather anemic-looking hawk landed in a nearby Eucalyptus on the Red Car Property. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, March 28, 2012, 9:47 AM.  I think it's a thin Red Tailed Hawk, but this was the best shot I could get.  It was definitely not one of the nesting pair from Rosebud & Allesandro.  They are very healthy looking hawks.  This one posed for photos and flew to the top of a pine tree on the DWP property between Fletcher & Waverly. 

More Hawkwatch Notes:
Later the same morning, March 28, 2012, I watched 3 big healthy Red Tails circling the south end of the Red Car Property, riding updrafts, calling and clearly playing with one another.  One dove at another on the telephone pole to start the chase.  (It seems one of last year's babies is still hanging around with the nesting pair.  The pair never seem to chase the third hawk off, so it's a good guess it's one of their young.)  One hawk broke off from the play, pulled in its wings and dove at high speed, landing on the nest at Allesandro & Rosebud.  It was impressive. 

The recent cold weather has kept one of the hawks in the nest most of the time.  They are likely incubating eggs.  Watch the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Red Tail Hawk Cam to learn more about nesting behavior. 

March 29, 2012: A friend pointed out a Cooper's Hawk that landed briefly, high up in a tree, in my backyard. Definitely not one of the Red Tails: it had a long thin neck, small head and beak, long tail.   Of course, there's rarely a camera handy when I see an elusive Cooper's Hawk.