Date: 4/4/21 3:26 pm
From: Emilie Danna <emilie.danna...>
Subject: Re: [southbaybirds] Raptor and woodpecker morning at Pearson-Arastradero Preserve
FYI I received a nice email from an eBird reviewer correcting one of our
identifications: what we thought was a sharp-shinned hawk was actually a
Cooper's hawk due to its gray cheek. See the side-by-side comparison here:
Glad I learned something!

On Sun, Mar 28, 2021 at 3:42 PM Emilie Danna <emilie.danna...> wrote:

> Hello,
> 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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