Monday, February 22, 2010

Red-tailed Hawk at Stiles & Hart

Steve and I celebrated Valentine's Day by going for a hike to Blue Hills on Sunday, and then for a in our backyard- Stiles & Hart Conservation Area- on Monday (President's Day). Trying to keep things cheap now that we're saving for a wedding!
We had gorgeous weather- temperatures were mild enough to go out with just a fleece & vest- yet there was still snow on the ground, which made for some pretty photos. All the ones in this post are from Stiles & Hart.
Notice Steve in the background throwing a snowball at me:

We were out midday and didn't see anything too interesting, although these was this red-tailed hawk hovering over the marsh area. I was inclined to think it was a Cooper's Hawk, since my neighbor, the Bird Man of Bridgewater, has one regularly stalking his feeders. Upon closer inspection though, the red tail is distinct.

See the hawk using its "rudder" in this picture?

Not the brightest picture, but the red tail is distinct, even with just a little bit of light behind it. Also notice the black band across the chest and the dark head. For more tips on red-tailed hawk identification visit All About Birds.

I saw even more red-tailed hawks on Sunday when I drove to the Cape to visit my parents, and then to Foxboro, MA to meet my friends Meg and Amanda for lunch. I counted a total of 4 hawks during my time on the highway (one standing on the median grass, and 3 in trees), and 1 in flight once I got back to Bridgewater.
I love watching raptors! But I have lots more to learn about them, and I definitely need to start checking more off my life list. Sounds like Cape May is a good spot, according to John's recent post about Cape May raptors.