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Evening Grosbeaks and a Hawk Watch

Published March 24, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Evening Grosbeak, Common Raven, Northern Goshawk, Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel

This week held a few rarities for me. I made plans to visit a woman's house who was happily hosting Evening Grosbeaks! Linda lives in a gorgeous part of the state and sees some very cool birds there.  She and her husband have been enjoying at least 7 Evening Grosbeaks all winter long and finally, the weather was dependable enough for me to feel safe enough to make the trip.

I waited a good 3 hours before Linda and I finally heard the cheeps of the grosbeaks. They came in like a little whirlwind, cheeping up a storm!  How exciting it was for me when I finally saw my first male! What a beautiful bird! There was a second male in the group too.  They totally made the long trip worthwhile!  Unfortunately, I didn't get many decent photos, as the grosbeaks stayed up high in the trees and when they came down to the feeders, they were pretty far from where I could photograph them.  Linda graciously invited me inside so I could get a couple of photos through the windows, but they didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.

I waited a little while in the hopes that one of the local Northern Goshawks would appear, but it wasn't looking good, so I decided to head home.  Just before I left, though, a Common Raven flew over, giving me my best views of that bird I've ever had. After that bird, I was on my way.  As I was nearing the turn off to the 90 to go west, I made the decision to continue north towards the Derby Hawk Watch.  After all, I was already 2/3 of the way there, I rationalized!

I was happy I made the right decision for a change!  The hawks were flying and it was a very good flight day.  Lots of Red-shouldered and Rough-legged Hawks were appearing, in the company of the myriads of Turkey Vultures and numerous Red-tailed Hawks. THEN - an adult Golden Eagle came over!  Wow!  I was very happy to see this bird. Three more were to follow, giving me excellent views and nice photos of a rarely seen bird. The goldens outnumbered the Bald Eagles this day. An adult Northern Goshawk flew over as well. We didn't get on this bird until he had passed so our viewing time wasn't as close nor as long as I would have liked.  I got a couple of distant more record type of photos of this bird, but I was very happy to have seen it.

After saying goodbye to Dave and Jim, the dedicated hawk watch counters and reporters, I left to finally head home after a very long but great day.  An American Kestrel posed for me just outside the hawk watch and I added a few more photos to the hundreds I had taken during the day. I think I smiled all the way home!
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Female Evening Grosbeak
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Evening Grosbeak
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Male Evening Grosbeak
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Downy Woodpecker
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Common Raven
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Common Raven
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American Kestrel seen on the way in and again on the way out from the hawk watch
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American Kestrel
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Adult GOLDEN EAGLE!
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Adult Golden Eagle
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Dark phase Rough-legged Hawk
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Rough-legged Hawk
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Adult Northern Goshawk
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A local Common Raven escorts a Golden Eagle out of its territory!
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Common Raven and Golden Eagle
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A parting shot of the American Kestrel