On Sunday, March 8, 2015, as we walked along the waterfront trail, we were suddenly jerked out of our musings by wild hawk screechings. Pursued by two crows, a hawk buzzed past us and flew in a zig-zag pattern up the beach.
Such a commotion! And what a reminder that we should broaden our interest to cover more than the beach. So, we began to look right and left and toward the sky.
High above, we spotted a pair of raptors circling as they floated on air currents.
A few minutes later, we saw a pair of hawks perched together in a stand of alder trees behind the fire fighters’ training center. Silhouetted against the foggy sky, species identification was impossible.
We walked to our turn-around point, then back toward the parking lot a half mile away. When we approached the trees, we saw the nest. One bird worked on nest construction while the other, perched nearby, kept watch.
Then on Monday, an opportunity came to get a photo of our bird. Perched on a high wire, it looked down its beak at this lowly creature below. It posed patiently while I photographed from several directions and angles toward a foggy-bright sky, hoping to get at least one shot with enough detail for identification. With a couple of suitable photos and help from a bird expert at the Forest Service, our raptor was identified as a red-shouldered hawk, Buteo bineatus.
Now we will watch and wait to see if there will be babies. If baby eagles are eaglets, are baby hawks hawklets? Until we know for sure what to call them, and if our pair produces progeny, we will label them chicks.