Monday, August 17, 2009

Sharp-shins spotted soaring

In the midst of a morning run in magnificent 48-degree-F. sunshine today, I had a couple of sharp-shinned hawks (Accipiter striatus) come a-soaring overhead, apparently enjoying the clear, warming weather after the clouds and some bluster of yesterday. It was easy to see the size differential between the larger female and her mate.

I also flushed a small flock of rufous-sided towhees (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) in an alley -- the first of these I've seen this season.

Blogging this reminded me of several other notes that I've been intending to post in recent weeks but have been forgetting. So here are a couple of those:

Seeing the sharp-shinned hawks this morning made me think of the Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii) that I saw briefly a week or so back as I was walking toward the ACU campus -- a fine predator if there ever was one. A day before or after that, on the same city block, I had an excellent look at a golden-fronted woodpecker on a mesquite trunk (Melanerpes aurifrons), a particularly attractive member of its family.

We've had good numbers of red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) in the neighborhood, and have been seeing kestrels (Falco sparverius) for the past few weeks, too.

On an overnight visit to Robert Lee in Coke County, Texas where my great-grandparents lived, we came across these birds that I thought worthy of note:

Curve-billed thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)
Brown towhee (Pipilo fuscus)
Greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)
Inca dove (Columbina inca)

Several days ago there was a pair of Bewick's wrens (Thryomanes bewickii) clambering about amongst a pile of miscellaneous items on the small covered porch behind our house. Evidently they were terrorizing whatever arthropods had been taking refuge in the nooks and crannies -- a worthy service, as far as I'm concerned!