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7147Possible Black-Hawk in San Benito County

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  • allenf21
    Apr 1, 2008
      Dear Bird Folks --

      My raptor colleague Debbie Testaguzza called yesterday evening just
      after having seen a large dark raptor float by her house near Aromas
      in San Benito County, about 8 miles south of Gilroy.
      She was certain it was an adult Common Black-Hawk. She provided me
      with her description this morning to pass on to you. Good searching.

      Date: March 31, 2008, Monday
      Time: 5:30pm to 5:34pm
      Place: Just west of hwy 101 and south of hwy 129 west of San Juan
      Bautista, San Benito County line
      Direction: this hawk came from the south and was heading north

      1. Thick, heavy, dark hawk, buteo size
      2. Dark head, back, dark wings and body underneath
      3. Noticeable beak, yellow near the face
      4 Tail appeared short and fanned open to touch the wings on
      each side, a very distinct feature
      5. Base of tail was black, then wide white band, then black
      band, then very thin terminal white band this coloring very
      distinct , same above and below
      6. Wings were very wide, dark on top, dark under with: pale comma
      markings near the ends of the wings before the ends of the
      primaries, some very faint brownishness or rufousness in the middle
      of the wings, tips of primaries and trailing edge of wings looked
      decidedly black, a very distinct feature
      7. Hawk flew with wings held quite still, flicked tail to turn
      8. As seen from the front, hawk looked very dark with shoulders a
      little hunched close to the head, appearing to have a slight dihedral

      Why it was not a:

      golden eagle: smaller, blacker, with wider shorter wings and
      shorter looking fanned tail that appeared to touch its wings, very
      dark head

      dark morph RT: no adult red tail, under wings were all dark with
      the exception of the commas, not part dark and part light like RT,
      shorter, wider more compact wings and tail, with distinct black and
      white tail

      dark morph Ferruginous: blacker in color, shorter wider not
      tapered wings, commas more faint and a little further toward the
      ends of the wings tucked in the corners, tail not grayish,
      underwings were all dark, not part dark and part light

      dark morph swainson: larger wider appearing wings with distinct
      black and white tail
      We'll get this prepped, with Deb's sketches, for the Cal Bird
      Records Committee.
      Good birds --
      Allen Fish
      Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, Sausalito, Ca