July 31st, 2008

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

80 acres: Hot Noon, new species

You don't expect to see much new when you go out in the middle of the day in a bad drought summer.  You expect to see dying plants (I did) and dead grass and forbs (I did) and birds panting with their beaks open (I did.)   It was hot (over 100) and dry and the sky had that bleached-denim color it gets with very faint streakings of high thin clouds that did nothing to ease the heat. 


And sometimes you get lucky.  I had changed out the memory cards in one game-cam and was sitting in the shade watching swallows play with the effect of wind hitting a treeline--one swallow went from almost-straight-winged to delta to vee in just one swoop--when I spotted a hawk high overhead, soaring.  A big hawk.  Not a red-tailed. 

BIG hawk.  I didn't have Bird One lens with me, but cranked out the zoom to its full 300mm and did my best.  Not a great shot but good enough to compare to the bird book and find out that it was a Swainson's Hawk, Buteo swainsoni.  A lifer for me and a first for the land.


And the species count is up to 788.