American Tree Sparrows, Rough-legged Hawks north of Bishop

Observers: Chris and Rosie Howard
Remote Name:
Date: 01/14/2007
Time: 03:42 PM -0500


This morning, 14 Jan, we walked north across (frozen) Farmer's Pond to the NW corner behind the inundated Cottonwood tree line to find two American Tree Sparrows in a mixed sparrow flock. One was certainly a bright adult with full rufous crown, gray face with slightly darker rufous eyeline that broadened at the rear of the auricular. The crown of the second bird was less bright and included a hint of gray median crown stripe. Below they were plain except for a dark central breast spot and a buffy-pink wash to the flanks and sides of breast.  Also, on the sides of the breast there was a little rufous patch.  Usually, only the lower white wing bar was visible.

We continued out to Laws turning north on Joe Smith Road. We were greeted by a regular ratatouille of raptors! Among the ~10 Northern Harriers and ~10 Red-tails, were three, possibly four, immature Rough-legged Hawks, one Ferruginous, and a Prairie Falcon. The Rough-leggeds had solid black bellies, very pale heads with dark eye-lines, wide dark tips to white tails and dark carpal patches on the underwing. This was the most we've seen around here since 2000.