Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sharp-shinned Hawk, Rockford, Illinois

A Sharp-shinned Hawk, Rockford, IL; 8/29/2011.
As I was busy searching out and taking photographs of the Mississippi Kites (yestreday's post) who have called Rockford home for the past four or five years, I saw another rather good-sized bird land in a low branch of a nearby tree. Initially I assumed it was another Mississippi Kite, so I zoomed in on it and saw that it wasn't one of the Kites. It was darker and a bit smaller, about the size of a dove or pigeon. It stayed on its perch for quite some time to allow me to get some photos, but unfortunately it stayed in the dark shadows of the tree (Above). It was too small to be a Red-tailed Hawk, which is the most common raptor in our area. It had the look of a juvenile Cooper's Hawk, but also seemd too small for that.
The same Sharp-shinned Hawk, Rockford, IL; 8/29/2011.
After researching and looking at photos, I concluded it must be a Sharp-shinned Hawk, which is a smaller version of the Cooper's Hawk. Fantastic, I never identified a Sharp-shinned before, so It became #328 on my Life List.
Also I noticed several swallow-shaped birds flying back and forth high in the sky above the the trees. They behave like a swallow, but were too large to be a swallow and had white bars on the undersides of their wings, which no swallow that I knew would have.  My initial thought was a Nighthawk. Upon returning home and looking at my photos, which were distant, blurry, grainy, and unworthy of a blog pic, but had just enough definition in them for me to confirm my initial guess of a Common Nighthawk, which became #329 on my Life List. It was a good day - three great birds.

Another local neighborhood resident lounging on its deck, Rockford, IL; 8/29/2011.

Sunset of the Day
A jet trail adds to a great sunset, Rockford, IL; 4/24/2006

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