Date: 3/28/21 3:43 pm
From: Emilie Danna <emilie.danna...>
Subject: [southbaybirds] Raptor and woodpecker morning at Pearson-Arastradero Preserve

This morning, my son and I had a great time at Pearson-Arastradero
Preserve. We saw (or at least we think we saw) 9 (!) different species of
raptors within ~3.5 hours. I took photos of most of them... please keep us
honest as we are not 100% sure of all identifications. Photos are available
at I'll correct any mistakes based
on your input.

It started auspiciously with an immature *Cooper's hawk* (?) in a tree near
the start of the De Anza trail. While I was busy taking photos of it, my
son looked up and saw a *Bald Eagle* traversing high in the sky,
unmistakable with its white head and large size. Then, we saw 2 *white-tailed
kites* flying quite low then using the thermals to quickly gain
altitude. A *red-tailed
hawk* soon joined them (see the photos in the checklist where the red tail
is nicely visible), and then a third kite also appeared on the scene. Later
on, a light brown blob attracted my eye in a tree in the distance, and with
binoculars it turned out to be a *red-shouldered hawk* (?). On the spot,
while looking at my (bad) photos to try to identify it, I realized there
was a second bird of the same species right next to it in the tree (!) and
soon both of them flew off the tree one after the other (maybe they were a
couple?). Afterwards, while trying to identify two swallows perched on a
thin naked trunk, it turned out one of them was a male *American
Kestrel*... you
can see we have room for improvement in our identification skills :-) It
was far, so I only took one very blurry photo, but it was easy to recognize
from its small size and distinctive contrasting colors and spots.
Meanwhile, a *turkey vulture* was circling the sky.

At the Arastradero lake, trees were full of birds, with many yellow-rumped
warblers, bushtits, oak titmice, California towhees, song sparrows, etc. I
gave up counting. We saw and heard >10 *acorn woodpeckers*, as well as
two *Nuttall
woodpeckers* and two *Hairy woodpeckers*.

We were having such a great time that we decided to continue the hike up
Arastradero Creek Trail. Turning left on Acorn Trail, we heard weird noises
multiple times, which we guessed were from Wild Turkeys. We couldn't see
them though and continued on... At the turn in the trail, we finally got a
visual and loudly exclaimed on our discovery (saw 7, including at least 2
males). And then, my son shouted *"sharp shinned hawk!". *There was indeed
a small hawk perched on a branch right above my head, undisturbed by our
noise (sorry). This is the first time we have ever seen one up close, so
please let us know what you think: you can see some photos in the checklist
(not of great quality as the sun was right in front of me).

Finally, we continued on and just as we were congratulating ourselves on
such unbelievable luck with raptors, we emerged onto Meadowlark trail and
saw our ninth raptor of the day: a *Northern Harrier* with its
characteristic white rump patch.

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