Thursday, November 28, 2013

Week 48

28 Nov 2013, Lust Road near Lake Apopka

This good looking bird isn't so solitary and isn't so secretive, two words often used to describe this species by the authors of bird guides.  Looking on eBird to see what other birders are reporting, a number of them have seen 10 or more this season at a given spot--that is not too solitary or secretive, is it.   Maybe they just like to party while in Florida and do the ghost act up north in breeding areas.

My telephoto lens could not get all the Grasshopper Sparrows in one image but in addition to these three, there were six others (two directly above these three) nearby along with five Vesper Sparrows.

Close-up of Grasshopper Sparrow

Eastern X Krider's Red-tailed Hawk

Talk about a look-a-like, if you have the book Hawks in Flight, 2nd edition, (Dunne, Sibley and Clayton) and look at the photo at the bottom of page 36, that adult Fuertes's Red-tailed Hawk looks exactly like the image below taken today on Lust Road near Lake Apopka:

There is no belly band and no dark markings that normally appear on the underwings; the patagium marks and the comma are weaker than typical for an Eastern.  Two more photos are below.

But ......... as it turns out, it is not a Fuertes's Red-tailed Hawk, despite the look-a-like, but according to two prominent experts, it is an Eastern X Krider's Red-tailed Hawk.  The Red-tailed Hawk has 12 subspecies; some experts accept 16 subspecies.  When you combine the not so uncommon leucism that appears in Red-tails along with subspecies that also vary, you get a grab bag of possibilities with some Red-tails. 

Just recently, a Red-tailed Hawk with Krider's features has appeared both at Lake Apopka (Bob Sander's group; not sure if it is this same hawk) and in Brevard County, reported by Mitchell Harris. 

Here is another look, and below, a topside view.

Shadows hide some of the tail detail and the head, but there is some white areas in the head (better seen in the top two images), and the tail here is white at the base and pinkish at the distal end.  Red-tailed Hawks vary so much and have so many subspecies that could migrate into our area that it always pays to look closely when you see this species--you just might find an atypical Red-tail.

Compare the above images to the typical Eastern Red-tailed Hawk below:

This is the typical looking Eastern Red-tailed Hawk, a juvenile.  Compare the markings here to the hawk images above.

My first Eastern Palm Warbler of the season also appeared on Lust Road.