Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/30/2016

Photo taken on August 28, 2016

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Anne Elliott
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Swainson's Hawk
Buteo swainsoni
beak open
front/side view
© Anne Elliott 2016
28 August 2016
bird of prey
electricity wire
mate is light-phase

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Swainson's Hawk female, dark-phase

Swainson's Hawk female, dark-phase
This dark-phase female Swainson's Hawk is the mate of the light-phase male that I posted yesterday. They make an interesting pair. Like the other photo, this is a poor quality shot taken against an overcast sky. I'm posting it mainly as a record of this encounter that I had two days ago, 28 August 2016 and also because dark-phase Swainson's are more unusual. What a fine pair they make. I'll add the photo of the male in a comment box below.

The following link (thanks, Tony) leads to an interesting article about the different colour phases of Swainson's Hawks. Apparently, only about 10% of the world Swainson’s Hawk population are dark types, the other 90% is made up of light and intermediate types.

The meeting place for a birding walk on this particular day was just a few minutes away form home, so I drove my very noisy, dying car and was finally able to get out for a few hours, after a week at home. We carpooled to the east end of Fish Creek Provincial Park, covering Mallard Point, Bow Valley Ranche area and then walking east to, and along, the Bow River. Birds seen included American White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk, Swainson's Hawk, Osprey and a variety of small birds and waterfowl, almost all very distant.

We ended up at the Ranche at lunchtime - a few people continued into the afternoon, but friend, Tony, who had driven me to stopping places in the morning, and I, left to go home. First though, we drove to check on a pair of Swainson's Hawks with one youngster. These were the Hawks that had dive-bombed me three times in the two minutes maximum that I was there on 1 August 2016! Needless to say, I didn't feel at all comfortable being near them again, especially when the female started to shriek - and my thought was "Oh, no, she recognizes me!" - but all went well.

Since late yesterday afternoon, I no longer have to stay home because of my old car - and I am SO thankful! It took three weeks to arrive, which felt longer than that. It would have felt even longer if it wasn't for two wonderful day trips to the mountains, thanks to friends Dorothy and Stephen, and Pam - so much appreciated! Now I have to learn the overwhelming complexity of a new car. There is such a difference between an old 1999 vehicle and the newer cars.