Sunday, May 10, 2009

Red-tailed Hawk Nictitating Membrane

Steve and I spent the weekend with my dad at the South Shore Antique Auto Club trading bee at Great Woods (a.k.a. Tweeter Center, a.k.a. Comcast Center) in Mansfield, MA.

I've been going since I was 12 years old, helping my dad load up the trailer with his junk, set it up Saturday morning, and pack up what's left on Sunday afternoon. For the past couple years we've gotten spaces in Lot 9, which was previously used for vendor parking, but as the trading bee has grown they've started selling spaces up there. The lot is grass and gravel and usually reserved for people guys ripping it up with their mini-bikes, 4-wheelers, dirt-bikes and anything else loud and obnoxious.

My dad really likes being up there though and we get good traffic and usually good sales since there aren't many other vendors around us.

I saw a hawk land in a tree on the edge of the parking lot and of course grabbed my camera to try and get some good shots. Steve and I took turns with the camera.
Here you can see its nictitating membrane, which I referred to as a "third eyelid" but after Googling it found the proper term. In this picture the hawk is scratching himself, which for some reason kicks in the reflex to draw over its nictitating membrane. I was actually talking about this randomly to Steve and my Dad on Saturday and told them that cats also have them, which I was 99% sure of and when I looked into it more learned that they usually only show them when they're ill.

I like this picture, which shows the hawk's crest, which I've never noticed before.


Dawn Fine said...

Great shots..
I clicked on each photo to see the membrane you were talking of and also the crest..very cool..

Dan Huber said...

Fantastic pictures of the hawk. I found your blog and am enjoying reading and seeing your pictures. I am also a beginner birder, in CT.

Kyle said...

You got some great shots of the hawk! You sound like me -- you never know when a good birding opportunity may set itself down in the middle of other outings or everyday life, so always take your camera along.

Birdinggirl said...

@Dawn- thanks for the kind words!

@Dan- Thanks for stopping by and for saying nice things about my blog. I just checked out your Nature Observances blog and enjoying reading about your sightings and happenings on the farm!