Went to Teal/Herrier wetlands as an afterthought, looking for northern
Herriers. The first bird we saw wasn't an NH but a RARE dark ad
Swainson's(see below). We saw a nice assortment of flycatchers in open
deciduous wooods at park entrance and then several forest
flycatchers (OSFL,YBFL,ACFL) mid to upper canopy levels at the ravine
overlooking Darby creek...what a beautiful site this is....we spent some
time here and while it was quiet for long periods we managed to eek out 15
species of warblers as well as Scarlet Tanagers, warbling and Philadelphia
Vireos, Brown Creeper and more.
Swainson's Hawk (dark, apparently ad) from T/H wetlands parking at ll:30
a.m. observed for 8 minutes at 200 yards briefly hunting,quartering over
marsh/grasslands before cruising north toward Kuhlwein Road. Bird when
first seen just over grass tops before gaining altitude, under 100
ft.quickly realizing thoughts of NH were not accurate, large size long
tapered, pointed wings overall dark blackish plumage made it a Buteo. The
dark plumage mostly slaty gray above and underbody mottled gray, black and
white; the undertail coverts were white apparently unmarked most obvious
was a patch of white as the hawk headed away. Tail appeared as wide gray
rectangle from below and entirely gray paler than the mantle from above.The
tail on both sides showed a murky black band on tip. The bird clearly as
large as a red tailed but more slender porportionately longer more tapered
wings pointed at tip. The bird continued north with purposeful stiff wing
Perhaps in describing details for a rare Swainson's Hawk, the most
diagnostic unique traits of Swainson's Hawk, the wing shape and pattern, is
all that is necessary.......but then it wouldn't be complete. The wings,
however, are diagnostic, and when seen well at virtually any distance can
leave an experienced observer confident of its identification.
SWHA is a large buteo long winged, long tapered pointed wings, necessary
for aerial manuvering with a small head and bill (obviously a long distance
migrant, foraging on insect and small rodents). In most styles of flight
the long wings especially long hand and pointed tips are unique among our
large buteos. The long hand, equal to or greater than length of arm coupled
with the bulging secondaries gives the impression of an S shaped trailing
edge. The wing pattern, consistent among all plumages, is one of high level
contrast between lighter coverts and black flight feathers visible,
depending on light, as far as you can see. While this was a well marked
dark adult possessed the characteristic and diagnostic wing shape and
pattern, overall dark plumage, including tail, and white undertail coverts
together are unique and leave identification relatively straightforward.
Like many species and strays in migration its difficult to speculate on
route but here at the east edge of the Darby Plains is many vagrants folow
this corridor otherwise known as Ohio Valley.
Details will be forwarded to the Ohio records committee.
What follows is a full list of birds separated by location:
Mature hardwood forest Overlook Trail and Darby Creek
ACFL 1 (calling in ravine at platform)
ALFL 1 (distinctive HAWO like call, low shrubs at park manager office)
PHBI 2 (both VIs in creekside shrub below overlook)
GOWW 1 ( F. in open canopy ravine at overlook)
T/H wetlands (teal pond)
PAWA 2 ("Western")
Good birding to all!
Patty and David Tan
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