35-B-2016 Red-Shouldered Hawk

STATUS
Accepted
DATE VOTING COMPLETED
1ST ROUND
6-1
2ND ROUND
7-0
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Caleb Hansen
OTHER OBSERVERS
I found the bird and was also the only one to confirm it.
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Lucky Peak Hawkwatch site at the southern edge of the Boise Ridge in the foothills in Ada County near Table Rock
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Edge between Douglas Fir and sage
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Initially detected the RSHA roughly 2km out north on the ridge flying towards us to the southeast. Observed for roughly 2 minutes. It was in the late afternoon while roughly 70 degrees out. Used a Vortex Spotting Scope with 60x magnification.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, later the same day
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
Hawks At A Distance by Jerry Luigori (the hawkwatcher's bible) 2010
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
This migrating buteo was a RSHA because it had unmistakable translucent crescents out on the edge of its terminal primary feathers both on the central and dorsal sides of the wings. It also displayed rufous mottling on the underwing coverts and patagials hunting towards an adult bird, but I couldn't confirm age in the time given with the hawk as it passed through. It also displayed a slight modified dihedral in its flight while rising in thermals over Shaw Mountain.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
This hawk was migrating alone and came with a pod of adult accipiters. It soared up thermals with a slight dihedral and displayed classic pseudo-accipiterine behavior in its choppy/rapid wingbeats.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
The translucent flight feather crescents was a dead-giveaway after watching it soar up a thermal for a few seconds.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
No other buteo species (which was immediately determined by silhouette shape) has that distinct pattern of translucence in its primaries. Rough-Legs have distinct carpal patches near where the crescents appear but hey aren't translucent. RTHA was filtered out as well when the crescents became obvious on the bird.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I'm a hawk watcher with IBO and HWI with 3 seasons of observation experience. So I'm very comfortable identifying a rare buteo species.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I've been professionally birding, hawkwatching at standardized count sites, and surveying raptor species in the entire mountainous west for three years.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
None

FIRST ROUND VOTING:

Cliff Weisse
Accept

Description is sufficient to rule out other Buteo species.

Shirley Sturts
Accept

Field marks fit that of a Red-shouldered Hawk and eliminate similar hawks

Dave Trochlell
Accept

I thought that the description was convincing.

Jay Carlisle
Accept

Key fieldmarks & flight patterns described

Darren Clark
Accept

relevant field marks were seen and described well.

Doug Ward
Reject, specific identification not established

Feel this was likely a good identification, but have trouble accepting in this round based solely on a single field mark (primary crescents), while a good one, and minimal comparable species discussion. The observer’s experience with raptor identification at hawk watches could be considered, however, they did not mention previous experience with Red-shouldered Hawks (Buteo lineatus). Am curious to read other member’s comments in the next round.

Charles Swift
Accept

The description might have been a bit more extensive but is consistent with Red-shouldered Hawk and the experience of the observer adds confidence to the sighting.

SECOND ROUND VOTING:

Charles Swift
Accept

Same comments as first round.

Dave Trochlell
Accept

I'm still convinced.

Cliff Weisse
Accept

same comment

Doug Ward
Accept

I'm reluctantly changing my vote to "accept" as I initially believe the identification was probably right, just not well documented at all. The primary crescents mentioned are a good key, but many Buteos can show this feature as well, particularly immatures. The observer's discussion of flight pattern is more supportive for me, particularly when coupled with the plumage notes.

Jay Carlisle
Accept

I remain convinced

Darren Clark
Accept

See previous comments

Shirley Sturts
Accept

same comments