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View Full Version : hawk ID help, and discussion of migration



forestgnome
09-18-2008, 08:11 PM
This hawk(?) was cruising very slow and very low over a meadow near Mt. Passaconaway. It was flying about a foot over the goldenrod really slowly, hunting for mice, I assume. It caught me by surprise as I was looking for moose. This shot was toward the setting sun so I couldn't get any more detail. Any ID help is appreciated.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l190/forestgnome/hawk91708.jpg



Also, isn't this prime time for watching migrating hawks from mountains? Are there any favorite mountains for sighting them? What times of the day are good?

happy trails :)

cooperhill
09-18-2008, 09:09 PM
My guess is a Northern Harrier. Did you see it hovering at all? That would confirm it.

una_dogger
09-18-2008, 09:31 PM
Lovely pic, the leaves are changing quickly. You are so fortunate to spend your days immersed in these events...I'm no expert on Hawks (or much of anything for that matter) but I think that bird has an Osprey-like profile. Willl be watching this thread to see what the resident ornithologists come up with. Very sleek! Nice catch on film.

Jason Berard
09-19-2008, 07:31 AM
I'd guess youngish Northern Harrier.
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Northern_Harrier.html

It has the shape, dark head, band at end of tail, wing pattern, and it was in the right place, doing the right things.....just a guess, though.

Here is an altered photo which might make ID easier.....
http://inlinethumb56.webshots.com/41463/2464943890099656796S600x600Q85.jpg

Quietman
09-19-2008, 08:30 AM
This annual Hawk Watching event was held last weekend.

Pack Monadnock Hawk Watch (http://extension.unh.edu/events/index.cfm?e=app.event&event_id=17567)

BorealChickadee
09-19-2008, 08:57 AM
Nice going on the altered photo Jason! Much easier to zoom in on and get some details. How did you do it?

I'm thinking Northern Harrier.

As I began to read the description of it's behavior the first thing that popped into my mind was Marsh Hawk (the old name for a Northern Harrier).

Ospreys are fish eaters so you'll find them looking for food over water. And what a spectacular performance they give!

gaiagirl
09-19-2008, 09:17 AM
Definitely Northern Harrier, either a female or a sub-adult, but I'm guessing female. The adult male is sort of deep blue-gray in color. I've never seen them this far North.

Jason Berard
09-19-2008, 10:02 AM
Female was my other guess....
I'm just beginning with this whole bird ID thing....but it sure is fun! :)

Jason Berard
09-19-2008, 10:07 AM
Nice going on the altered photo Jason! Much easier to zoom in on and get some details. How did you do it?

I'm thinking Northern Harrier.




Paint.NET ......its something a friend downloaded for me.....its kinda cool.

I just adjusted the brightness and contrast.

Puck
09-19-2008, 11:41 AM
In the White Mountains Hawk migration is hit or miss because there is not a major flyway there as there are in the southern part of the state and on the coast. Some of these hot spots can have incredibly high tallies as the birds get funneled past the observation points.

Anyway this time anything can fly over especially after a cold front passes through.

Also don't forget to go out at night to listen to the passerines moving through.

Kevin, Judy and Emma
09-19-2008, 03:01 PM
It could be a Northern Harrier. They have eye disks like an owl, did you see it close enough to tell? Might also be a Broadwing Hawk.

Judy and Emma and I were crossing from the Horn to the Bulge on the way to Cabot in early October a few years back and saw about a dozen different hawks go over at different times and some landed and some had dog fights, it was quite spectacular. I hear a good place to view them is at Weeks State Park on Rte. 3 in Lancaster. There is a good view north over a cleared slope.

http://www.greatnorthwoods.org/weeks/

KDT

brianW
09-19-2008, 04:43 PM
Watatic and Gap Mt are pretty good spots for raptos also. I have also seen a group watching/counting hawks on Bald Rock/Monadnock a few years ago.

cooperhill
09-19-2008, 04:49 PM
Definitely Northern Harrier, either a female or a sub-adult, but I'm guessing female. The adult male is sort of deep blue-gray in color. I've never seen them this far North.

I saw a group of 4 in Farmington, NH (Blue Job Mtn.) last Saturday. I usually only see them on the Seacoast. I thought they were falcons at first but then I saw the white band on the tail.

The position of the wings also leads me to believe it is a No. Harrier. They typically fly with in a dihedral position (wings up like a vulture).

Kevin, Judy and Emma
09-19-2008, 07:45 PM
http://www.ghostflowers.com/forumshots/1hawk.jpg

The Harrier is about 22" with a wingspan up to 48", the Broad-winged about 15" with a wingspan about 34".

Many hawks are very hard to tell apart especially between male/female, immature, especially when you only catch a quick glimpse as they soar by. Tough to say what yours was. The fingers at the wing-tips makes me lean towards Northern Harrier, though it's hard to judge its size.

KDT

forestgnome
09-19-2008, 10:06 PM
Thanks very much for all the help! Yes, it did hover alot and glide alot without flapping wings. Please check the new related thread for a look at a bird that I saved from the jaws of the northern harrier.

Great photo, Kevin!!!

happy trails :)

sardog1
09-21-2008, 09:06 PM
Northern harriers are found across New Hampshire, with the primary breeding area apparently being Coos County (i.e., the northernmost county in the state.) Check out the nesting site map (http://extension.unh.edu/forestry/Docs/res_harr.pdf) from the UNH Cooperative Extension.

The white rump patch is the telltale field mark, along with the habit of slowly cruising at anomalously low heights (for a raptor) over open areas.

Puck
09-22-2008, 07:59 AM
The Harrier is about 22" with a wingspan up to 48", the Broad-winged about 15" with a wingspan about 34".

Many hawks are very hard to tell apart especially between male/female, immature, especially when you only catch a quick glimpse as they soar by. Tough to say what yours was. The fingers at the wing-tips makes me lean towards Northern Harrier, though it's hard to judge its size.

KDT


I think your photo is a Coopers Hawk. A broad wing has a much shorter tail that when the bird is perched does not extend beyon the wing tips.

At any rate you have a great photo. How do you get them to perch on your car? I had a starling perch on my car once. (a very week try at oneupsmanship :D)

Kevin, Judy and Emma
09-22-2008, 07:05 PM
I was wondering if maybe it was a Cooper's Hawk. I've seen Sharpies up close and they're gray with red eyes, but it was about the same size.

Usually there are house sparrows perching on our car. I think their numbers have been thinned out a little.

KDT

Tony
09-23-2008, 10:47 PM
Migrating raptors ride thermals whenever they can. So a good place to watch is along N-S ridges that create updrafts that give the birds lift. I second the recommendation that BrianW made about the Wapack ridge.