[Ontbirds] York Region: Red-shouldered Hawk, Goshawk, etc.

Ronald J. Fleming "ronaldj..fleming" at sympatico.ca
Sat Apr 3 18:37:54 EST 2004


Two separate trips to the regional forests east of Newmarket/Aurora
today yielded some good spring birds, raptors in particular.  At the
southern perimeter of the Hall Tract a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was circling
and calling for several minutes as I took my dog for a hike this
morning.  This may be the same bird I observed at this location last
week - presumably a local male back on breeding territory and
advertising for mates.

In the late afternoon (apprx. 4:15) I observed a NORTHERN GOSHAWK
circling above the Pangman Springs property on the south side of St.
John's Sideroad, just east of the railway tracks.  This appeared to be
an immature bird, heavily streaked below, and presumably a male since it
was fluffing up its undertail coverts to such a degree that at times it
appeared to be white-rumped, a phenomena observed in Cooper's hawk by a
birder on this website last week and one which puzzled the heck out of
me when I first noticed it in Cooper's and gos two years ago.  Do female
accipiters do this too, or only the males?

This courtship display by the large accipiter was a pleasure to watch.
It circled for several minutes, flapped east and began circling again,
though no calls were heard in the 3 to 4 minutes I observed the bird.
My first EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and NORTHERN FLICKERS of the year added
music to the occasion as I followed the raptor through my binoculars.

Heading west along St. John's Sideroad, I observed a pair of AMERICAN
KESTRELS near the interesection of St. John's and Warden Avenue.  Just
west of that, a female NORTHERN HARRIER was hunting low over the fields
on the south side of St. John's.

All of the areas described above are within 10 kms of each other,
situated just north of the Aurora Road and south of the St. John's
Sideroad.  The Hall Tract is halfway between the two, on the east side
of McCowan Road.  It is the second York Regional forest indicated by a
sign on McCowan and it is on the north side of a truck wrecking yard,
which adds a surreal touch to things when, later in the season, you're
watching house wrens and indigo buntings cavort atop fragmented Mack
truck grills.

Pangman Springs is also between Aurora Road and St. John's Sideroad, but
closer to the latter and on the west side of Kennedy Road.  It is not
well-marked, but there is now a pull-off and a small gravel parking
area. You can't hike the full distance across the property to reach
Warden Avenue any more, but it is still a decent area, especially during
migration.

Ron Fleming, Newmarket





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