[Tweeters] Duvall Rough-legged Hawk YES, Red-shouldered NO,
and Snow Geese!
josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Sun Feb 28 21:15:02 PST 2016
Despite a foreboding forecast for a thunderstorm in the afternoon, my dad and I braved the pelting rain to drive out to Duvall. Our primary goals were the two notable Hawks seen in the area, Rough-legged and Red-shouldered. Having missed the Rough-legged on February 6th, and not having been able to try for it again until now, I was rearing at the chance to try again.
It was quite windy when we got there, but that had the benefit of blowing the storm cloud away from us. After a few minutes, the sun came out in a patch of wispy blue sky, and a rainbow formed over the fields of Duvall. The question was, would I find my hawks at the end of it?
A few minutes later, I was at the gravel pull-off just north of the barn and silo on the left side of the road. As I was scoping the posts across the field, I heard a flock of geese above me. I got my binoculars on them and was amazed to see that they were white with black wing tips! The snow geese, all 64 of them (!), disappeared over the hills to the northwest. Just a couple minutes later, a flock of rock pigeons appeared from behind a silo. After them came a hawk! As the hawk flew closer, I got my binoculars on it but couldn't quite yet discern diagnostic marks. Then an amazing thing happened - it hovered in the wind directly over me! The view I got was more than just enough to confirm it as a rough-legged: it was simply fantastic to see it right above my head!
The hawk flew a bit to the south, and I relocated it atop a pole. I got good scope looks of the perched bird, and even got to see the bird "lighten its load". In my photos you can see its namesake "rough legs", though I didn't think to look for it in the field. After the rough-leg flew off the pole, I lost it behind the barn, but didn't mind because I had seen it very well.
The red-shouldered hawk sadly just wasn't there in the trees and fields around the slaughterhouse, so we headed out soon after. And thank goodness for that: the eye of the storm ended just then! The rain was pelting as we left Duvall.
A swallow also flew overhead at one point, but I could not get a good enough look for ID, as I was busy watching the Rough-legged Hawk. Tree or Violet-green -- either way, the swallows are definitely coming back!
Good birding, Joshua Glant
Mercer Island, WA
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