[CT Birds] Southbury -- Rough-legged Hawks and odd encounter at sparrow site

osoltau at aol.com osoltau at aol.com
Sun Jan 10 13:26:50 EST 2010

>From Olaf Soltau with Peary and BK Stafford

At the previously reported Southbury Rough-legged Hawk site, along Cassidy Road near Purchase Brook Road, we were happy to see not just one but two Rough-legged Hawks this morning around 10:45.

We were less lucky at our next stop along River Road near Purchase Brook Road, where other birders had reported a nice mix of sparrows (incl. Vesper and Clay-colored). We had just gotten out of the car and set up a scope to check out the brushy slope when a volunteer or employee (his name tag was obscured) of the nearby Bald Eagle observation area appeared and asked us to get back into the car, saying that people walking around made the eagles skittish. We obliged, despite the fact that we were on a public road and several hundred yards away from the entrance to the observation area. Of course we wanted to be considerate of the interests of eagle viewers. Then there's the nearby radar/communications station, and it's understandable that people with high-powered optics might make officials nervous. The recent Massachusetts arrest was somewhere on our minds, too. Still, as we drove off we wondered if we should have handled this situation differently. The request to get back into the car had come totally unexpected, given how far we still were from the eagle area. We hope this posting is useful for other birders checking out the site who might encounter the same issue. 

Olaf Soltau
New Preston, CT

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