Thursday, November 4, 2010

Northern Goshawk + Tomorrow and/or Saturday?

[One of Tuesday's Northern Goshawks, this one came over the hawkwatch platform at Cape May Point State Park from behind us. The bulge to the inner wing is sharpie-like, but even more evident. Gos is proportionately longer winged, and when it folds up the wing to glide, that length has to go somewhere. Note that the bulge is vertical as well as to the rear (true for sharpie also).  Also note the long "hand," which in a glide like this makes the bird look very pointy-winged, a la a large falcon; and note also the thick tail, looking like an extension to the body. The white undertail coverts are obvious here, but I don't count that much help for i.d.; Cooper's Hawks in particular will give you that look. Click to enlarge photos.]

It's not likely to be epic - the well of birds is gradually running dry - but we've got two days and nights of forecast northwest winds ahead for Friday and Saturday.  Another good weekend?

[When the goshawk turned and came back, it assumed a very buteo-like appearance.As the saying goes, if you see a bird you first call a buteo and it turns out to be an accipiter, it's a gos. Again, note the pointed-winged, small-handed look, as well as the long, broad tail. And the sheer size and bulk of the bird. Our Beanery goshawk Sunday got next to a Sharp-shinned Hawk, and dwarfed it, making it obvious what the bird was. ]

[Straight overhead.  This bird never looked dark chested, but you can see here the gos's dense spotty streaking. Unlike Cooper's Hawks, Goshawks don't look particularly big-headed in proportion, because their body is massive, and they are not especially straight-winged either.  The tail is heavy and broad, and with close examination you can see the zig-zag nature of the tail bands, characteristic of goshawk.]

[The National Weather Service forecasted, and I quote, "A good old fashioned rainy day" for today, and that's what we got. This Tundra Swan continues at the state park today, but one worries for it, since the Mute Swans refuse to let it feed. Note the rusty staining on the head feathers.  Iron exists in a reduced state under water due to the lack of oxygen, but when birds like swans, Snow Geese or Sandhill Cranes root around in the mud, the iron unearthed is exposed to oxygen and. . .rusts.]

A walk about the state park in the rain turned up the continuing female Eurasian Wigeon amongst 190 (actual count) American Wigeon on Lighthouse Pond west, i.e. the part close to Lighthouse Ave. The molting male Eurasian Wigeon was on Lighthous Pond east, and a first cycle Bonaparte's Gull joined a large flock of gulls over Bunker Pond. The Tundra Swan was along Lighthouse Avenue, resting up in the marsh. Melissa had counted 0.0 raptors for the day as of 11:00 a.m., no surprise. Tomorrow is another day.

No comments: