This week’s photo, taken June 14, 2014 in Yakima County, WA, features a SWAINSON’S HAWK, a new state bird for me.
On day two of the recent Washington Ornithological Society conference in Yakima, our leader is slowly driving our van along a gravel road when he suddenly spots a SWAINSON’S HAWK soaring above us. It’s nice having a multi-tasking guide who can drive and find birds at the same time. We’re fortunate that he notices the high-flying raptor because most of us are riding in the back of the vehicle and unable to see much of the sky. He quickly brings the van to a halt, we all climb out and watch the majestic hawk as it slowly circles in a thermal. After a few minutes, the hawk loses some altitude, glides toward us, and treats us to even better views.
During our time on the side of the road admiring the Swainson’s Hawk, we observe other soaring birds as well, including several COMMON NIGHTHAWKS, a NORTHERN HARRIER, an AMERICAN KESTREL and a TURKEY VULTURE. Our brief stop turns into a very productive stop, and it’s all because we have a very alert leader.
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