Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Short-tailed Hawk and more

Well, on Saturday, April 27, I was working at WBU when I got an e-mail from my friend and co-worker Nicole with pictures of a hawk that she suspected might be a short-tailed hawk. Russ Wigh circulated the photos and everyone agreed that she had documented the first state record of this species in Georgia. While many birders made the trek to Hinesville on Sunday and were rewarded with views of the bird, I didn't get down until Monday morning about 11:30 am.

Krista Gridley, Gene Keferl and Larry Carlile were there, but the hawk had not been seen. Sandy Beasley and I left about 1:30 to go grab some lunch, leaving my phone number with Krista. Well no sooner had we ordered our Mexican food than my cell phone rang. The hawk had reappeared above Nicole's house. We said we had a bird emergency, paid for our food, asked that it be boxed to go for later pick up and rushed back to Nicole's. We were fortunate that the bird was still being seen at a distance and that it then proceeded to fly back toward us and over the house. It was up against the blue sky making for decent photos.

This was only the second time I have seen this species, the first time being a dark morph bird in central Florida in 1999. We enjoyed watching it plummet towards the earth in a steep dive on several occasions. 
Short-tailed Hawk 4/29/13

Short-tailed Hawk

Short-tailed Hawk
There were plenty of other birds to watch at Nicole's house, including the abundant purple martins, nesting pair of great crested flycatchers, and bluebirds scouting the houses. It was a great day!

Great Crested Flycatcher pair near nest box
Mr. Bluebird scouts the box