Saturday, December 10, 2011

December Birding

Red-tailed Hawk

It was a clear and very cold morning with a strong breeze, so it felt even colder than 11 degrees. I didn't get up in time to watch the partial lunar eclipse, but this was intentional. I figured it wouldn't be as good as the opportunity I had back in February 2008 for photographs.

After making a quick trip to Waunakee to show Sylvia Marek the Snowy Owl, I hiked my usual route at Pheasant Branch Conservancy and observed 32 species. Birds I found last week but missed for today's eBird list were Northern Shrike, Winter Wren, and Rusty Blackbird. On the plus side, I found a Hermit Thrush and Belted Kingfisher. Perched on a limb at the southeast bridge by Century Avenue, a Red-tailed Hawk had its eye on something in the grass. Its back was to me while I was watching it, but just before taking flight it turned around and I was able to get a nice digiscoped photograph of it.

After Pheasant Branch, I stopped at Marshall Park to scope parts of Lake Mendota. There were Tundra Swans, Canada Geese, Common Mergansers, Common Loons, Common Goldeneye, Rudy Ducks, Bufflehead, Canvasback, American Coots, and Mallards.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Dec 10, 2011 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
32 species

Canada Goose
Bald Eagle
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
American Tree Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Red-tailed Hawk © 2011 Mike McDowell


  1. I sometimes think that your digiscope captures the world more crisply and clearly than my eyes, this hawk is a gasp-er.

  2. What a crisp shot of a Red-tail. I guess the cold, dry air of winter results in shots like this. Also interesting to read that you had a Rusty Blackbird.

  3. Thanks!

    Chatter: That was last week, but I was unable to find them this week. Still, the two rusty blackbirds were late.

    Mike M.

  4. That light !
    I notice the cold without being there.
    Thanks for this perfect picture.
    Regards, Sjerp