Thursday, August 31, 2017

Northern Goshhawk

Today we had a lot of things going on, so we squeezed in a short mid-morning walk for Buster and to make a quick bird list.  For convenience we went to nearby Wallace Marine Park.  Our normal route for walking around the ball fields looked a little congested so we elected to take a different route next to the river that we could make into a short loop.  Midway through the loop we spotted a large bird fly into a tight mix of cottonwood and big-leaf maple trees.  Looking with our binoculars we thought it was an immature Cooper's Hawk, it was for sure too big to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Just to be on the safe side I quickly took some photos so that I could get a closer look. When I got home and down loaded the photos into my laptop, I started to check some birding guides to confirm that our bird was a Cooper's Hawk, to my great surprise I began to realize we had a juvenile Northern Goshawk.  Neither Jeanette nor I had ever seen a Northern Goshawk before, so a new bird for Cascade Ramblings and a new Life Bird!  Further research revealed that this species is normally found in the high Cascades, and when seen here in the valley, it is usually in winter.  I'm guessing with the all the wildfires and smoke problems in the Cascades that it has fled here to the valley for better conditions.  Goshawks are bigger than a Cooper's Hawk or a Red-tailed Hawk, in fact they are only surpassed in size in the hawk group by Golden and Bald Eagles.  This fits with our first impression of a big bird.  Here is our eBird checklist.

1 comment:

  1. That's very exciting. Congratulations on your discovery! I hope you enjoyed some celebratory blackberries. :-)