The yearly migration to Cape May draws nigh. Since shorebirds and sparrows are not my strong suit, we will focus on hawk IDs.
*observe my blatant ignoring of last post*
When you see a bird of prey, what is usually the situation?
2. Flying away
We will go through some of the more common birds, with all the views.
Look for all that orange. (Immature: dark brown vertical streaking)
Black and white banded tail, scalloped back.
(unashamedly stolen from Kyle's blog)
Their wings kind of remind me of checkerboards.
Red tail....red tail....red tail....
(Immature: Brown striped tail)
Dark belly band on a pale front.
*Word about red-tailed hawk plumage...this is the most variable hawk in North America. They can be very pale, all the way through the spectrum to very dark. There are four light morphs and three dark morphs. Lighter birds have a pale "V" on their backs that can be seen while perched.
(stolen from Kyle, again)
When you see a large hawk flying overhead, and can't see the color of the tail, look at the underside for dark crescents at the wrists...red-tailed.
Dark cap, dark gray back, long long tail.
Word about Cooper's vs. Sharp-shinned: Size is a good indicator, but tough in the field (and a female Sharpie and a male Coop are about the same size).
Sharpies have a dark "hood"....Coops have a "cap".
Coop's tails are rounded, Sharpie's are squared.
Pale chest with orange barring. Long long tail.
I love this shot (got it as I surprised a Coop as I came around the corner of the house).
A typical accipiter silhouette. Short wings, long tail.
Other birds of prey, in flight>>>
Look for that wide white band on a otherwise dark tail. And a crisp dark outline of the wings.
The black "windows" on the wrist are distinctive.
They will "kite" and hover while hunting. Great photo ops.
Osprey fly with crooked wings. They keep their wings bent at the elbow (drooping "hands").
And they are huge. Hard to mis-ID an osprey.
The dark areas under their wings remind me of a Tiny Tim crutch.
Well. I feel better. Gotta look at the bright side. Because it's...well...brighter.