Saturday, January 3, 2009


Will yesterday's Snow Goose be an omen? There are supposed to be passing bands of snow showers, but while the clouds have locked in there have only been flurries.

This morning I headed back over to Eastlake Reservoir, where I had happened to see the Kestrel on the first. I walked the full loop, picking up Robins, Mourning Doves, and a few House Finches for the year count. Eastlake features a nice rock wall observation platform for their waterfowl, but unfortunately it was not well situated for the open water left from the ice. As I looked through the group of Ring-bills for a stray gull I caught a raptor coming in across the lake. At the time I noted his rufous body, and wondered if it was the poor light on the resident Kestrel. I snapped a series of him crossing the lake, and then changed my focus to the gulls settling back to the ice rim once the danger had passed. Back at home I used my copy of Hawks From Every Angle, by Jerry Liguori to nail the ID. The dark hood, with a visible pale facial disk, uniform light rufous underparts, white rump patch and other details helped me narrow down the options to a juvenile Northern Harrier, lifetime checklist #82.
There was an entertaining scene as three loud Canadian Geese circled in and landed just in front of me. I think they may have had an argument about the directions they were following, or that the leader had landed them on an ice covered lake. Whatever the reason, the three had at it on the ice with much hissing and "goosing". It is comical to see a goose lose his feet and do a sliding 360 on his back. Unfortunately that bit evaded my camera.

After my circuit I headed for home, on the way I spotted a hawk perched low off an intersection where I had seen a light morph Red-tail juvenile on the first. I pulled off at the next cross street and looped back on foot. While snapping pictures of what I believe to be the same individual, (top of page), I caught a few light colored doves sitting on a power line a few feet from the hawk. I shot five frames of these brave birds before wrapping up on the hawk. On closer examination these doves were Eurasian Collared-Doves, a species that has been exploding in numbers, but had eluded me until today.

2009 Count: 31

Lifetime: 83

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