Sunday, September 30, 2007

a raptor

We've had little rain this summer but not draught: less mowing, lots of crystal-clear cloudless days, with light breeze and lower humidity than usual. As the days get cooler, we can enjoy weekend lunch on the side porch without the sound pollution of our neighbor's window-unit air-conditioner.

We watch the young families go to and from a small playground up the street a bit, observe neighbors puttering about in their yards, and generally absorb the natural moment as best we can.

Mid-day yesterday was special as we both saw a hawk, two crows, and a handful of squirrels enact a small drama. The hawk was intent on capturing a small squirrel. The squirrels were busy hunting nuts to store for the winter months and trying to avoid the hawk's talons, swooping down at them. The crows seemed to be keeping an eye on the hawk, harrassing it once or twice, maybe to establish territorial rights, maybe to protect their nests. The hawk would sit on a high branch on one side of our viewing area, drop down at a squirrel, avoid crow, and flap up to a high branch on the other side. Back and forth for a quarter hour or so, with folks passing by on foot, dogs on leash, strollers and toddlers in hand. We didn't see it leave, but are sure it didn't make a lunch of any prey in our little space.

I'm pretty sure it was a Red-Shouldered Hawk:

{click image to view full size; image source}

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a family of red tailed hawks on Goucher's campus. A full grown male, a full grown female, and a juvinile male. The youngun is an exibitionist and last spring he seemed to really enjoy hunting for lunch in front of the students center while fifty percent of the campus walked to and from class. For half an hour he chased one squirrel up and down and around a little clump of trees. I didn't see the final outcome, but there were squirrel pieces found around that tree later.