Red-tailed Hawk Nest – Weekend Highlight

This will be a short post which probably won’t hold any interest to anyone else. But there are certain things I like to keep track of through the blog. Like the Red-tailed Hawk nest I’ve been watching.

Once again work and family obligations limited my time birding over the weekend. For once though it’s during the holding game waiting for migration instead of early May. So I didn’t feel as much disappointment only getting out for a few hours.

I previously mentioned the Red-tailed Hawk nest when I happened to see a couple of hawks in the local park. It appeared they were either building a new nest or occupying a previously used nest.  On subsequent trips I didn’t see any activity.

Until this weekend when a hawk was sitting on the nest.

Red-tailed Hawk Nest
The initial view from a distance. The nest is in the center of the photo.
A zoomed view of the nest showing one of the Red-tailed Hawk parents on the nest.

I’m glad to see it’s occupied so I can continue to monitor it though the spring.

Over the years I have seen several Red-tailed Hawk nests and I have to say this looks small. Or is it my memory?

Must be my memory. Hal Harrison in Eastern Bird Nests lists the outside diameter at 28-30″, and the inside diameter at 14″-15″ with a depth of 4-6″. Looking at the photo again I would definitely say this nest is within that range.

I often wonder with all the Red-tailed Hawks I see why I don’t come across more nests. The following photo answers that question.

Any idea where the Red-tailed Hawk nest is located? This points out why I don’t see more nests when I’m out in the field.
The other bird of note this weekend was my FOY Fox Sparrow seen hanging out with a group of White-throated Sparrows.

Wondering About Horned Larks

This is short post to on a couple of things.

1. Even when the weather stinks, the snow is deep, and I can’t do birding by foot without a lot of hassle, there are still birds to be found.  In this case Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Buntings along the roads of Johnson County.  Actually hundreds of Horned Larks, a few Lapland Longspurs, and only one Snow Bunting.

The photos aren’t the best since the day was pretty dreary.

A few of the hundreds of Horned Larks I saw on the day. This group flew over to a field and waited for cars to pass. Johnson County 02/22/14
I posted this picture to show that it really isn’t so hard to pick out Lapland Longspurs at a glance. I used to have problems picking them out of a flock of Horned Larks but once I got used to the color difference, not so difficult. Horned Lark center, Lapland Longspur right. Johnson County 02/22/14
An out of focus picture but still one that shows the differences in color patterns of a Lapland Longspur and Horned Lark. Johnson County 02/22/14

Plus some sparrows and friends along the plowed roads of Johnson County Park.

American Tree Sparrow – Note the bi-colored bill. Johnson County Park 02/22/14
White-crowned Sparrow. Compare head pattern with the next photo. Johnson County Park 02/22/14
White-throated Sparrow – compare head pattern to previous White-crowned Sparrow. Johnson County Park 02/22/14
Dark-eyed Junco – Johnson County Park 02/22/14
A Fox Sparrow got in on the action. Johnson County Park 02/22/14
OK, Mr. Robin, I will post a picture of you. He wouldn’t move to let me see the Fox Sparrow. He wanted all the attention. Johnson County Park 02/22/14

2. And I have wondered about the following for some time.

I’m not the guy that tracks up the most hours in the field, especially the past year. But I’ve put my share of hours in the field.  So where are Horned Larks in the summer? Sunday I must have seen 5 or 6 flocks of 150-200 Horned Larks along the road.  In the summer I  hear a few but might go weeks without seeing one. I know they are in the fields but besides one gravel road in Illinois that always had 10-20 I never see many in the summer. Just wondering?

This Horned Lark posed nicely for a for photo. Where will it be hiding in July? Johnson County 02/22/14


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