[CT Birds] Unidentified buteo

James Winkelmann james.winkelmann at gmail.com
Fri Aug 22 16:03:11 EDT 2014

Today I drove into the McKinney WR area off Long Beach Rd in Stratford,
entering next to the railroad tracks.  After parking and walking to the
observation deck, I walked back and flushed into the adjacent marsh what
first appeared to be a Norther Harrier out of the Southern tree line along
the railroad tracks.  First glimpse was of the distinct white rump, making
me think Harrier.  It coursed over the marsh a bit, then descended into a
creek bed.  Then hop-flew around a bit, briefly kited low, then disappeared
into a creek again, before finally emerging and lighting in a nearby tree.

Overall however definitely buteo-like, chunkier than Harrier, and had
distinct white patches on what I'd figure were primary coverts (top of the
"wrist"), and basically dark and white underneath, dark on top.  I'm
inclined to think light juvenile Red-Tail, but it just doesn't sit right as
there was no red at all anywhere on this bird - it was all dark and white.
There was indistinct banding on the tail when viewed from behind.

Still, if I had to bet, I'd say pale juvenile RT.  If I was taking a flyer,
I'd go with Rough-legged, but alas just cannot be sure.

I don't photograph birds, but did make a (very poor) attempt at holding my
iphone up to my scope for a view of the back of the bird as it was sitting
in a tree, if anyone wants to take a crack at it.  It's really a poor photo
from too far away, so in all likelihood inconclusive and I'll never know,
but thought I'd throw it out to the hive if anyone has ideas.

Here is the link to the photo in my public Dropbox folder:



More information about the CTBirds mailing list