Central Virginia 3/3/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Southern Albemarle County

Reports of a Ross's Goose hanging out with a Cackling Goose in the midst of anywhere from 150 to 450 Canada Geese were enough for Walt Childs and me to take a look. Both the Ross's and Cackling would be new life birds for me. We went to the location on Langhorne Road, and sure enough, there were 200 to 300 Canada Geese in a pond far from the road. We could see a small white goose in the water as well. Walt used his spotting scope to verify that it was a Ross's, and I did my best to get some photos from more than a 100 yards away. In the first photo below, the small goose to the right of the Ross's is considerably smaller than the other two Canada Geese in the photo, and is mostly likely the Cackling Goose. After a few minutes the entire flock took off in two groups, and then merged in the air as a single group. It looked like a large flock of Starlings flying in unison, but they were geese and soon organized in a large and very broad V-shape as they flew away.

Ross's and Cackling Geese

Ross's Goose

Ross's Goose

Ross's Goose

Stuart's Draft

I had errands to run in Waynesboro this afternoon, and decided to stop first at the intersection of Hall School and Lipscomb roads in Stuart's Draft. A Rough-legged Hawk had often been reported there this winter. I hadn't seen it yet this year, although I had seen this species there in previous winters.

As soon as I parked my car, a hawk flew up from a field, and I thought I was going to be lucky. Drats! It was a Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk

And then out of nowhere, the Rough-legged Hawk came and immediately engaged the Red-tailed Hawk in aerial battle. The Rough-legged Hawk succeeded in driving the Red-tailed Hawk away.

Rough-legged Hawk

But it appeared that the Rough-legged Hawk wasn't satisifed that the battle was over, and soared over the field, looking for the Red-tailed Hawk.

And then the Rough-legged Hawk spotted the Red-tailed Hawk, and once again, engaged in battle.

But the Red-tailed Hawk got the upper hand, and started to chase the Rough-legged Hawk.

To my amazement, the Rough-legged Hawk did a "Top Gun" move, breaking its flight and dropping down to come up behind the Red-tailed Hawk. It ferociously attacked the Red-tailed Hawk and drove it away.

The Rough-legged Hawk took off, and I continued my journey. A few "farm" blocks away, I saw the Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a power line. It looked exhausted, and its feathers were all disheveled.

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