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Coastal Mendo Birds - Possible ZONE-TAILED HAWK

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  • Matt Brady
    Hi Birders. Today Austin Booth, my dad and I tried for some birds along the Mendocino coast. We started at MacKerricher SP, where we did not see any Rock
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2007
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      Hi Birders. Today Austin Booth, my dad and I tried
      for some birds along the Mendocino coast. We started
      at MacKerricher SP, where we did not see any Rock
      Sandpipers. However, we did see a RED-NECKED GREBE
      sitting off Laguna Point. Back at the parking lot, a
      first-cycle THAYER'S GULL was hanging out in the small
      Gull flock on the beach.

      At Pt Arena we succeeded in finding Al the LAYSAN
      ALBATROSS sitting just off the pier at Pt Arena Cove.
      He spent most of the time we were there asleep. While
      watching Al, a young FERRUGINOUS HAWK cruised overhead
      for an odd combination of species. We saw a second
      young Ferruginous Hawk north of Manchester.

      The most interesting sighting of the day (for me at
      any rate), was a bird that I am pretty sure was a
      first-cycle ZONE-TAILED HAWK. The bird was in the
      town of Pt Arena, and was flying around with some
      Turkey Vultures. It was strongly back-lit, but it was
      completely black - the body, underwing coverts, tail,
      and upper parts were all black, with no streaking or
      other markings. The secondaries and primaries were
      light, which contrasted with the body and underwings,
      but I could not determine if they were patterned or
      not. The shape of the bird was also correct for
      Zone-tailed Hawk, with long, narrow wings and tail,
      and a rather small head profile. However, the poor
      viewing conditions (with the sun almost directly
      behind the bird), and the short period of time I was
      actually able to observe the bird make me less than
      certain of my sighting. So, those of you heading out
      to Pt Arena to look for Al ought to keep an eye out
      for weird Hawks, too!

      Finally, our last sightings of the day occurred along
      Mountain View Road, on our way back to the Ukiah
      Valley. Somewhere along the west slope of the
      mountain we had a pair of MOUNTAIN QUAIL foraging
      along the road, as well as several VARIED THRUSHES.
      It's always a treat to see these guys, and Mountain
      View Road is just about as good a place as I know of.


      Matt Brady
      Potter Valley

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