The unusally warm weather has moved out of the area, and we are back to near normal temperatures. It was bright and sunny today, and I wanted to see if any new birds had moved south with the cold front. I planned on going to Lickinghole Creek and Reservoir in Crozet.
On my way out of Stoney Creek, I stopped to photograph a Red-shouldered Hawk, and wondered if this hawk might be a harbinger for today's birding. It turned to be so, or well, sort of . . .
Birding was poor at Lickinghole - only 12 common, avian species, and the total number of birds I saw was fewer than 50.
I stopped at Beaver Creek Reservoir, but saw only a few American Robins there. My next stop was at Old Trail, where I first checked on our new home lot - ground-breaking is supposed to be in two days, but there is a lot of work to be done getting the lot ready, so that date is doubtful. I headed over to the golf course pond and didn't see any birds there, but stopped on my way back to the car when a hawk landed in a nearby tree. "What the ??" It was a Harris's Hawk, a southwestern U.S. hawk that didn't belong anywhere near here. It took my brain about 10 seconds to understand what was happening.
I had met Kevin Markey a few times during the past two years, knew that he was a falconer who had a Harris's Hawk and lived in Crozet, and had heard that he often exercised his hawk at Old Trail. I didn't know that he had two of them, and a second Harris's Hawk appeared. Kevin signalled a call, and both hawks flew to his vehicle and perched on its roof.
Being close up to these two hawks made my day. Otherwise, it would have been a poor outing.