Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sharp-shinned Hawk on the Tuolumne River Parkway Trail

I got back out on the Tuolumne River Parkway Trail this morning. There weren't many birds out, or otters for that matter, but I stopped a moment in a big clump of Elderberry bushes. I've probably found seven or eight species of birds feeding on the berries, but there didn't seem to be any birds today. I backed out and was startled by an unexpectedly large bird bursting out of the far end. I saw the barred tail and knew it wasn't a Red-tailed Hawk. It was also too small for that.

It landed in the big cottonwood downstream and I got a couple of shots. Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks can be very similar in appearance, especially the juveniles. My best conjecture is that it was a Sharp-shinned Hawk because the end of the tail is straight instead of curved. I'm always open to correction, however. It's the first one I've seen on the Tuolumne River Parkway Trail (I saw one a year ago on the San Joaquin River).

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