[texbirds] Re: Common Black-Hawk in Willacy County

  • From: "Bert Frenz" <bertf@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 7 May 2013 19:12:08 -0500

Reconsidering ...
I have now received several e-mails suggesting this bird is really a
Harris's Hawk, which would make much more sense, given the locality.  And,
yes, I have indeed studied many Harris's Hawks, but not all-black ones.
What threw me off is that through binoculars and expanding the photos I
could see no chestnut wing coverts or chestnut elsewhere.  All feathers
looked uniformly black.  I was in good lighting, coming in from my right.
However, I do agree that the profile and the placement of the white better
fits Harris's Hawk than either black-hawk.  So, I attribute my
misidentification to misleading lighting and not paying enough attention to
the bird's profile and stance.
Bert

-----Original Message-----
From: texbirds-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:texbirds-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Brush Freeman
Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2013 6:54 PM
To: Bert Frenz
Cc: texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [texbirds] Re: Common Black-Hawk in Willacy County

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*********************************
OK....I figured Bert Knew Harris Hawks superbly given his time with them...I
can not detect any rusty shoulders here, but the perched profile would also
fit...Still worth a look...B Brush Freeman
361-655-7641 Cell
http://texasnaturenotes.blogspot.com/
Finca Alacranes., Utley,Texas



On Tue, May 7, 2013 at 6:00 PM, Bert Frenz <bertf@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I had an exciting find at Santa Monica wetlands, Willacy County 
> (N26.42699, W97.60979).
> I would have posted this a few days ago, but was in transit, without 
> Internet availability.
>
> Here are details.
>
> Observed May 4 from 7:30-7:38 AM.  First impression through 10X 
> binoculars was of a black-hawk.
> Perched, the buteo-shaped hawk was completely feathered in pitch black.
> Only from the
> expanded photos was I able to see the white tail tip.  When it took 
> flight, I was able to see the white tail band that also shows in the 
> photos.  The yellow cere was clearly visible through binoculars and on 
> the photos. Although the gray tip of the bill could not be seen 
> through binoculars, it can be seen from expanding some of the photos.
>
> I considered Common Black-Hawk as an extremely unlikely find in 
> Willacy County, so I also considered Zone-tailed Hawk as a 
> possibility.  It would seem that the white tail tip, the singular wide 
> white tail band, and the obvious yellow cere would be inconsistent 
> with Zone-tailed Hawk.
>
> According to Lockwood & Freeman (2004) Handbook of Texas Birds, Common 
> Black-Hawks have been very rare visitors to the Lower Rio Grande 
> Valley and their range map does not extend to Willacy County.
>
> For photos, go to www.bafrenz.com/birds/Texas/CommonBlack-Hawk.htm
>
> Bert
>
> -------------------------------
>
> Bert Frenz
>
> Bert2@xxxxxxxxxxx
>
> author, A Birder's Guide to Belize, 2013
>
> Birds of the Oaks & Prairies of Texas
>
> www.bafrenz.com <http://www.bafrenz.com/birds/>
>
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