Further down I met an experienced birder - really nice binoculars are a good sign of someone who might be able to teach me something! He kindly put me on to an accipiter which he identified as a probable Cooper's Hawk. I had some good views and snapped a few shots but, as I re-examine the photos, the size (11-13" based on the branch diameter) and the squareness of the tail have me thinking Sharp-shinned Hawk. Comments would be appreciated as Cooper's would be a lifer for me so I am particularly wary on rushing to judgment.
|Unidentified Accipiter, top image is 1/4 frame crop of 170mm image, bottom image is further crop from same, Click to Enlarge|
|Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus|
...as well as this muskrat feeding in the creek.
|Muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus|
After picking the kids up I was heading up the 10th St. hill when I spotted a Merlin engaged in what I can only describe as a dogfight with an American Crow. I watched these aerobatics for a moment, until they disappeared from view over the crest of the hill. Rounding the corner at the top of hill and somewhat out of breath from the climb, I was pleasantly surprised to find a merlin, presumably the same bird, sitting in the top of a spruce tree. A beautiful falcon and this one nicely showing off the paler brown of the prairie subspecies.
|Merlin, Falco columbarius (richardsonii)|
Not bad for an hour of cycle commuting!