Coastal Mendo Birds - Possible ZONE-TAILED HAWK
- 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.
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