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Thread subject: An OSPREY at Blackwater!
Name Date Message
Melanie 12/09/05 12:21 pm I tuned in to Blackwater around 12:05 and was shocked to see what sure looked like an OSPREY on the Blackwater nest. He (generic) stayed on the nest until 12:57. I grabbed plenty of shots and sent them to Lisa. He was just sitting there, poking around in the nest, but he was there for so long.
Pam 12/09/05 01:14 pm Oh how exciting Melanie - still had it switched on but minimized so missed it - cuss, swear !!!!
Melanie 12/09/05 01:20 pm OK - once I calmed down a bit, I started looking through some shots - Lisa seems to think it's a little small for an Osprey - it is possible it could have been a Sharp-shinned or Coopers' Hawk, but the markings on the tail and back and the white "under carriage" sure said Osprey to me. Lisa has the shots but I will put them up on shortly
FOB Webmaster 12/09/05 02:10 pm Here are some face shots. I'm horrible at hawk identification, so I'm asking around. I'm thinking red-tailed hawk or something similar, but I'm not sure:
Anne 12/09/05 03:17 pm The body shape and bill say 'hawk' to me, but I dont know what kind.
Kathy 12/09/05 03:31 pm Looks like a Red-Tailed Hawk.
Pam 12/09/05 04:07 pm I've been scrutinising your pics Melanie and consulting my book - how about a Northern Goshawk. I say this because all stages have a broad white eyestripe and also white fluffy undertail coverts and a striped tail, although in my pictures the tail is not so finely striped as in your bird. As FOB webmaster says, it could be an immature red-tailed hawk which does have fine stripes on its tail and also a white eyestripe. Marie where are you ??????
Melanie 12/09/05 04:30 pm I don't know about a Goshawk - aren't they fairly striped on the breast and underbelly? At least the one I see is.
Anne 12/09/05 04:45 pm I dont think it's a Goshawk, it's not got enough barring on its underparts. Goshawks would not perch in such an open place either. They are very secretive and only fly into the open when they see some prey they can surprise. They literally explode out of the forest, catch an unsuspecting bird and then slip back into cover.
FOB Webmaster 12/09/05 04:47 pm I posted some of the pics on Bird Forum Net and a person there said they thought it was a juvenile red-tailed hawk. I'm inclined to think that might be it -- as Kathy and Pam have said. The tail threw me until I read that juvenile RTHs have bars on the tail, which this one clearly had.

He was back later this afternoon.

Thanks for everyones thoughts and Melanie's pics. :-)
Pam 12/09/05 05:28 pm I think it is a juvenile red-tailed hawk - see this picture: came up with 3,503 pictures of red-tailed hawks !!!!! I got to about the 400th before I called it a day.
Celeste 12/09/05 05:30 pm I'm leaning/hoping towards a red-tail....Anyways, it's a relief that it isn't an osprey, cause that would mean the bird was sickly and wouldn't be able to migrate...."whew"! However, my first conclusion would have been an osprey from the shots Melanie got....(sorry I wasn't home Melanie!!!!)
FOB Webmaster 12/09/05 06:04 pm That's a wild photo -- really detailed.

Here are the shots the person at Bird Forum posted of the immature red-tailed:
Kathy 12/09/05 07:14 pm Wildcam has chosen their Pic of the Day, "The mystery raptor......" To see the picture:
Tim P 12/09/05 07:37 pm I'm sure it's a Red tailed Hawk.
FOB Webmaster 12/09/05 07:52 pm Thanks, guys. I put a note on our cam page regarding the red-tailed hawk ID.
Marie 12/09/05 08:08 pm Finally I get to ID this bird...........having studied Sibley's for a long while I have come to the conclusion that it was a Juvenile Red-tail Hawk too, eventually dismissing Goshawk Juvenile. So I was with you for a while on that one Pam.(BTW, I was at work so couldn't help at the time ;-(( ) It is definitely too big for a Cooper's Hawk, as well as there seems to be so many BARS on the tail for a cooper's. What throws one off is this bird has a very Pale face which seems somewhat unusual for a RT, but certainly a juvenile RT has many bars on it's tail in comparison to the juvenile cooper's.
Guess then it is one of this years Juvs. Perhaps it has dispersed from Central Park, NY. Maybe it is one of Pale Male's grand babies... ;-)
FOB Webmaster 12/09/05 08:54 pm Thank you, Marie. It's good to hear you agree on the ID.

We've had a couple kestrels on the nest, but never a red-tail. Being a juvenile, maybe he was out exploring. He was on the nest quite a while and seemed to be eating something -- not sure if it was food remains or something he brought. Then he returned briefly in the afternoon.
Tim P 12/09/05 09:38 pm RTH reference:

On the page listed "more birds" you can see the red tail, one is what I think is a large female who I still see and the other is a youngster.
They are very cool to watch, this time of year they become a lil desperate for food.
I once was able to observe a RTH capture a grey squirrel from a tree.
It was one of those freakish sudden warm days in the dead cold of February and the squirrels came out of slumber to eat. This RTH was flying into a bare maple tree and eventually after a few tries he managed to pluck the squirrel right from the trunk of the tree. It was a great show.

Melanie 12/10/05 12:32 am I've spent the evening pouring over Sibleys ' OK - I can see a juvie RTH.

See what happens when an osprey addiction goes too long without getting fed?
FOB Webmaster 12/10/05 07:54 am the little kid who said "I see dead people." We say "I see ospreys." :-)

I miss them, too. Hope they're doing well down south.

Neat story about the squirrel. Tough for the squirrel that you're not even safe on the tree trunk. We have a black squirrel in my neighborhood. He's so handsome and unusual, but I'm always afraid he'll get hit by a car or eaten.
Nancy L 12/10/05 09:54 am We've seen a black squirrel in our area on L.I. for many years. I never say "squirrels" because in all these years, we've only seen one at a time! So I wonder if there is any black squirrel family, or does one black one just pop out every few years?!
cathleen 12/10/05 11:31 am I've seen many black ones in Canada - Toronto and Montreal. I have wondered if they indeed are a different kind of squirrel...
FOB Webmaster 12/10/05 01:02 pm There was a story awhile back in the Washington Post that said many years ago (I think it was during Teddy Roosevelt's administration) a group of black Canadian squirrels were released at the National Zoo (home to Tai Shan). Some escaped and moved across Washington, colonizing along the way, and then made it into neighboring Virginia.

They reported that since then the squirrels have been moving north up through Maryland. I live in northern Maryland, and I suspect my neighborhood squirrel may be a relative from the original Canadian batch.

Scientists say they're just a color variation on the gray squirrel species; still I think they're very beautiful to look at compared to the gray squirrel.
Tim P 12/10/05 05:36 pm I've never seen a black squirrel on Long Island only grey. I have seen Black squirrels in Central Park in NYC & in the Bronx. Go figure...
They also have them in NJ.
Nancy L 12/10/05 08:55 pm Tim - I'm right in Oakdale, & have seen them for probably 25 + years here: not many, but on occassion.
Lori 12/10/05 10:01 pm A few years ago I used to have 1 that would come to the feeder. I took pictures; he hung around for the summer & winter but never saw him after that. He was adorable, so very black & quite personable for a squirrel. I've never seen another since.
Madeline 12/10/05 11:56 pm I've seen black squirrels at the W. Sayville Golf Course also Tim. Not in abundance, but they are around there. With all the squirrels I have in my yard, never once have I seen ONE.

We did see a RTH swoop past our heads and extend his tallons to grab something off a tree trunk, with not success. You are right, a thrill to see. BTW, at the GOLF COURSE also!!!!!
Shelley 12/11/05 12:08 pm I never saw a black squirrel until I moved to Toronto. They abound here. No, I take that back. They RULE here!! They are big, bold and fearless. And they have a PhD in Birdfeeder Raiding. It's a requirement.

Madeline 12/11/05 01:48 pm No matter what kind of squirrel baffle you use, those inventive smart accrobats can figure a way to get to the food. You are so right Shelley.
Melanie 12/11/05 04:15 pm Try Cayenne pepper (red pepper powder - not chili powder) in the feeder and suet cakes. Birds can't taste it and squirrels hate it. They may try it once, but they can't handle it.
Marie 12/12/05 01:50 am Black Squirrels, like the grays are even in Victoria. Must be a genetic thing as I am sure black squirrels in the east haven't travelled across North America by themselves unless they got some help from a good Samaritan. They generally frequent the big park. We have native red squirrels too in the forests. Very cute being WILD. The grays are another thing since they predate on birds eggs!

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006