I saw some great birds during my workday on Thursday! It may be hot and humid outside, which makes my days pretty rough, but at least I get to "work-bird" as I walk around neighborhoods set in the heavily wooded country of Central PA.
Here was the highlight:
I heard this Red-tailed Hawk crying in some pines behind the neighborhood I was walking, so I pulled over and went looking for him. Turned out, there were two -- calling to one another, and perhaps screaming at me for invading their turf. More than once, this guy looked down at me and screamed, so I took some quick picks, giggled with glee, and got out of there.
Also present were Black-capped Chickadees, Gray Catbirds, American Goldfinches, Song Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, and Tufted Titmice. It was a nice little break from work.
Notice the light reddish-brown coloring of this RTHA (I don't think my photos captured just how light this bird's coloring was). At first I wondered if it was a juvenile Northern Harrier; it was that lightly rufous-colored. However, the bird's call and markings were distinctly those of a RTHA--the belly band, the "backpack" (which I noted when the second hawk flew away), the screaming associated with Bald Eagles in movies and on TV! A juvie NOHA would've had a solid rufous breast and the white rump-patch. Still, I haven't seen a RTHA this color around here; I always see the normal dark-brown color. In my field guide, the rufous morph is more of a Western race, yet here is this guy.
Is my ID of RTHA wrong?
P.S.--I know I had some photos and a post of a normal-colored RTHA on my blog once; I just can't find them! This is the only one I found for comparison: