MBC Dilute Plumage Bald profile photo.

MBC Dilute Plumage Bald profile photo.
the Lower K. Legend. MBC Photo

Monday, February 15, 2021

great information on Accipiter's. (tools for your tool kit) Wing Tips: Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks

Wing Tips: Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks
click link above for more helpful information 

The Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) and Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) are two closely related birds of prey, and pose an identification challenge that some ornithologists used to consider unsolvable.

These two species belong to the genus Accipiter, which contains about 50 other species worldwide. Only one other accipiter, the Northern Goshawk, is found in the USA and Canada. Accipiters' short, rounded wings and long tails are well-adapted for maneuvers in forested habitats.

In today's post we'll discuss how to differentiate this duo while perched; many of these traits can be used for in-flight ID as well. One of the most important themes in this post is that no field mark is reliable on its own. Thus, let a majority of traits lead you to an identification. If there's no majority, it's better to be uncertain than inaccurate!

(all information is copyrighted to Wring-Tips)

This blog shares strategies to identify North American bird species, especially those found in the northeastern US.

Other topics include bird conservation trials and triumphs, general birding tips, and spotlights on avian life histories.
Wing Tips is written by Tessa Rhinehart.
Cover image: "Wandering Tattler" by Jason Crotty / licensed under CC BY 2.0
The name "Wing Tips" was inspired by Marc Radell, who came up with the phrase during a discussion about identifying broad-winged hawks in flight. Thanks, Marc!

Diopter locking mechanisms


Diopter locking mechanisms

by Diane and Michael Porter

Some binoculars (especially high quality, expensive ones) have locking mechanisms to prevent the diopter setting from getting turned accidentally. The locking mechanisms are varied and often ingenious.

On the Minox HG binocular, you unlock the diopter adjustment mechanism by lifting the silver ring on the right eyepiece (revealing the scale) and turning the ring. When you have it right, you push the ring down again, and the diopter setting is locked until such time as you need it again.


The Leica Ultravid roof prism binocular has an especially elegant diopter solution. There are two knobs on the central column.

Normally, when you are using the binocular, both knobs turn as one, so it's like one big, easy-to-find knob. It looks like the picture above left.

To change the diopter adjustment, you lift the upper knob. The right-hand picture above shows the knob in the up position, revealing a stripe of red. In this position, the upper knob turns independently of the lower focusing knob, fine-tuning the focus of the right eye only. As the knob turns, you can see the adjustment on the face of the scale.


If you are not clear about where the diopter setting is on your binocular, consult the manual that came with it.

Armed with this understanding of the diopter adjustment, you can allow your binocular to do its best for you.

Copyright 2006 Michael and Diane Porter

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Some new raptor ID resources (Detroit River Hawk Watch Raptor Guide Material) Some of these look Eastern (Red-tailed and Red-shouldered)

Some new raptor ID resources (Detroit River Hawk Watch Raptor Guide Material) Some of these look like Eastern sub-species, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks. Neat slides wanted to share. 

for comparison only a Crow 



Monday, November 23, 2020

Neat video for folks just getting into Birds of Prey "Raptor Identification Raptor ID for Beginners"

Click video link to watch YouTube video.

In this online presentation, Hawk Mountain Senior Research Biologist David Barber will walk you through the basics of identifying raptors in flight and share tips used by seasoned hawk watchers locally and around the globe.

An Inside Look: Raptor Migration

Join bird experts and trained hawkwatchers from Audubon Connecticut, Bedford Audubon Society, and Braddock Bay Raptor Research (plus a special guest appearance by a feathered friend) to learn how to identify raptors in flight, get information on participating in a "hawkwatch" to help scientists gather data, and discover some of the best viewing spots for fall migration.

Sh*t Birders Say as mentioned this is the video we talked about on our hike 11-21-20 at Lynch Canyon

Here is the video we mentioned while trying to get everyone to see the Burrowing Owl.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Follow up on Lynch Canyon Open Space 11-21-20 Birds of Prey tour.... Wow!

To all those who came out:

What a Great trip, lots of Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, a great look at and Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk, a few White-tailed Kites, four Golden Eagles, three burrowing Owls 

And a great group of folks, lots of thanks to Tom, Susana. Shelly, Pam for Co-leading and helping folks see the raptors and helping them learn what hey were seeing, truly a great team effort.

(all photos copyright to original photographers/organizations, use here for non profit and educational purposes only, most photos here shown from WCHW photo pool and not of actual birds from the day, rather just references to help those learning, what we saw and how to tell what they are)

lots of Read-tailed Hawks both Juvenile and Adult birds (photos and info below) 

Adult Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo form (large soaring hawk) overall brown and tan wth brick red tail, tan feathers on back form a "V" known as Scapular V.

Adult Red-tailed Hawk 

Juvenile Red-tailed hawk, dark hood, dark belly band, dark patagials (leading edge of wing near body) Also here you can see where the tail differs for an adult. over all light brown aka tan, with fine brown or dark bars on that tail, easy to tell Juvenile from Adult Red-tailed Hawk because of the tail baring.  

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, great view of tail markings, to compare to an Adult bird, also note the Scapular V seen on both adult and juveniles.

Juvenile Red-tailed hawk, dark patagials, dark hood, strong belly band, finely barred tail, buteo form.

Adult Red-tailed Hawk, dark hood, dark patagials, brick red tail, faint belly band, buteo form.

RTHA (red-tailed hawk) slide 

(below) Right as the tour began we saw some movement of sparrows and western blue birds off to the east of us, we stopped and waited to see what it was that was flushing them, and a few seconds later saw a bright orange Sharp-shined Hawk (Adult) flying over our heads, much like in the photo below showed the orange barring in the chest and belly, the dark nape and the sooty black bars on the grey tail.

Sharp-shinned Hawk - Genius Accipiter (small woodland Hawk)

Sharp-shinned hawk in a glide showing its squared off tail, dark nape on the neck, red eye and head barely extend past the wrists, making it look "wristy" 

Here a Coopers Hawk on the left and the Sharp-shinned Hawk on the right, showing the difference in head location. Coopers forms a "cross' and Sharp-shinned forma capital "T" also notice SSHA has a nice squared off tail and a COHA has a somewhat rounded tail effect. 
(often Coops and Sharps are confused in the ID process) 
Sharp-shinned Hawk = SSHA, Coopers Hawk = COHA 
Here a younger SSHA shows a nice squared off tail, and the full on "wristy" look in a glide. 

Lots of Harriers seen, Female, Male and Juvenile...(photos and info below) 

Northern Harrier slide 

Adult Female, tan and brown, yellow eye, owl like facial disk, wings held at a V, aka swallow Dihedral, long tail, pointy wings.... Adult Female Northern Harrier.  

Adult Male, yellow eye, owl like facial disk, wings held at a slight V, aka swallow Dihedral, long tail, pointy wings, dorsal view presents a white rump patch, bird is grey on top and white-ish underneath, with black wing tips and linings .... Adult Male Northern Harrier.  

Young birds have a cinnamon, aka pumpkin wash to them.. over all a orange-ish underside on body and underwing linings, with very unique with barring "checker board" type patterns.

Young bird, dark eye, cinnamon wash, good dihedral and owl like facial disk 

(Above) Adult Male, Grey, off white, black, wings at a dihedral, yellow eye. 

(Photos below) of White-tailed Kite.... first seen at the parking lot, then again another along the trial and two more seen at the reservoir..  

White-tailed Kite, overall white, with gray wings and back with black shoulders and namesake white tail. True Kite form but also the long tail and pointy wings, somewhat similar to a "falcon" form. 

Hovers over open areas in search of mice, snakes, and other prey.

Perches atop tall vegetation in open landscapes including coastal plains and agricultural areas. Much like we saw the two perched in the tree at the marsh.

Burrowing Owls, [below] very lucky to see three burrowing owls along west of the reservoir, lots of movement and a few flights, at least three different birds in different areas but one general region, very exciting. Spent a lot of time making sure each guest had a chance to view one...  

true to its name in a burrow.

a few of the views we had were like this, but at great distance 

Here we see a Golden Eagle looking into a burrow, we did not see this but this type of activity plays out daily in the Lynch Canyon Open Space.


Always on the look out, from the safety of their burrows.

Golden Eagle, (below) great looks at Golden Eagles all day, 6 sightings though-out the day, with at least 3 confirmed individuals, possibly 4. 

Sub adult above, based on white tail base, and some white still at the base of the primaries (feathers near the tips of the wings) 

Adult Golden Eagle at Lynch Canyon from previous trip

Golden Eagle on our logo 

Adult Golden Eagle (above)

Young Golden Eagle (above)

Juvenile Golden Eagle  (above)

Tail of adult on the left and sub adult on the right

Gold Eagle left to right, Juvenile, Sub-adult, Adult. (Above)

Please check out Facebook page, like and if possible recommend us based on your days experienceon Facebook  www.facebook.com/WestCountyHawkWatch

Check the website for upcoming eventsofficial Web page www.westcountyhawkwatch.com 

And here on this page we post reports from past events, like the event we had at described above: on Google Blogger  http://westcountyhawkwatch.blogspot.com 

thanks for coming out, it was a fun day, Larry Broderick