Yes! It is a Common Nighthawk! Many thanks to everyone who helped me
with this, both on and off list.
Dawn Harkins, South Lake Tahoe, CA USA
PS: I saw it at dusk, so crepuscular makes sense. And the tail only
seemed short and small to me, I guess because I've been looking at
ravens a lot, fascinating birds...
--- In CALBIRDS@y..., "Patrick McNulty" <mcnulty-p@s...> wrote:
> I'm not sure about the small short tail, but take a look at a
Common Nighthawk in a Field Guide to Birds and see if that looks
> Patrick McNulty Phone: (805) 967-9900
> Santa Barbara, CA E-Mail: mcnulty@g...
> >>> "dawnhark" <dawnhark@y...> 7/7/02 11:24:59 AM >>>
> Hi everyone, this is my first posting here. I hike a lot in the high
> Sierra, Tahoe and Alpine County areas mostly. I am not a birder,
> do look at and enjoy them when I see them!
> I saw a pair yesterday I'd like help with identifying. It was near
> Silver Lake on Hwy 88, around 7000' elev (guessing). One of the pair
> flew high and kept its distance, but the other was definitely
> disturbed with me for being there. Probably a territory thing, or a
> nest or chick was nearby.
> Now the hard part--how do I describe this bird!?!?! It was not a
> I had seen (or noticed) before. It was a bit bigger than a jay, but
> smaller than a redtail hawk--I think.
> The most noticeable marking was a white bar or band located on both
> the top and the bottom of the wing, across the width of the wing,
> lengthwise, at about the middle of the wing.
> The tail was small and short, no flare. The wings were kind of
> boomerang shaped--backswept--but I guess that's true of a LOT of
> birds!! Umm...
> The bird was agressive and divebombed me many times. It had a very
> streamlined look. There might also have been a black marking next to
> the white bands, not sure--the overall color was neither dark nor
> light, probably gray-ish, and there may have been a russet color
> the wings.
> An acrobatic flyer, it seemed to me. The head looked small and the
> beak did too, from what I could see as it flew around.
> The pair called back and forth repeatedly, a short cry, can't
> it, sorry!!
> Can anyone help me identify this bird, or direct me to a good site
> that can help? I just joined this group after spending an hour
> floundering around on the Net, to no avail...
> Your advice and expertise are appreciated!
> Dawn, dying of curiosity