Sunday, December 31, 2006


New (to me)

I've seen hawks at my office hundreds of times, but I've never seen one from my back yard before. The woods are thick, so I figured it isn't the best hunting ground for them, and even if they were around, the foliage obscured them.

The leaves are absent now of course, and out of the corner of my eye this morning I caught a glimpse of a big bird coming in for a landing up in a tree about 50 yards away. For an instant I anticipated the crash of a turkey clumsily coming to roost, then I realized that the bird was a red-tailed hawk. (I presume all hawks that I see are red tails unless it's obvious they aren't; this policy saves me a lot of time struggling with hawk IDs.) I was able to bring my big lens and a 2x extender to bear to get this shot at 1,000mm, cropped. And after further review, I still think it's a red-tailed hawk.

Local Hawk

Another "new" bird actually started showing up a year or so ago. I figured when a batch of about five little gray birds started coming around, it was the fledglings of something familiar. When they still looked the same after several months I began to suspect they were a separate species. After going through my bird book today I decided this is a Dark-eyed Junco, slate-colored variety.

Dark-eyed Junco

This one isn't a new arrival. It's just today's Jay gorging on corn. Click on it for a better view of the crumbs flying.

Blue Jay cracking corn


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