Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rough-legged Hawk

A lump appeared ahead of us in the dense fog as we were returning to the car at the Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area yesterday morning.  Jeanette spotted it, and as we got closer we could make out the form of a large hawk.  Without a clue as to what hawk, I began getting photos.  As I got closer and zoomed in with the camera I saw this guy staring back.  Finally it flew off and we noticed the white butt and concluded it was a Northern Harrier.  One thing nagged me in my mind though was I could not recall a Harrier having that much white on the head.  Back home I checked on Harriers in The Sibley Guide to Birds and no white heads.  Well,  do any other hawks have white butts? Page by page I looked, and then I saw it, a Rough-legged Hawk! A brand new bird for us, so a new addition to my Life List.  We will be taking a closer look at hawks we spot with white butts, not jumping to the conclusion it’s a Northern Harrier, but considering the possibility of a Rough-legged Hawk.

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