[Ontbirds]Harlan's Hawk at Burlington

Rob Dobos rdobos at cogeco.ca
Sun Feb 25 09:52:06 EST 2007

An apparent adult dark morph Harlan's Hawk is present in the Aldershot area
of Burlington in the vicinity of Hwy 403 and King Rd.  It was first found
earlier in the week by Paul Smith and has been seen by many local birders on
Saturday.  The group I was with had it around 10:30 am just behind a brick
factory that is at the end of a short road (can't recall the name but it is
the only one) just west of King Rd off the North Service Rd.  It was perched
in a tree on a hill on the closed old landfill site and easily scoped from
the roadway.  Later that morning it was seen flying south over the Hwy 403.

Harlan's Hawk is currently considered to be a subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk,
but is a very rare western visitor to Ontario.  This is the first known
record for the Hamilton area.  The bird is an all dark plumaged buteo,
similar in size/shape to a Red-tailed Hawk, but with a dark upperside of the
tail with pale barring and whitish underside of the tail, and very faint
pale streaking on the upper breast (some dark Harlan's have more extensive
white streaking here).  There are many Red-tailed Hawks and a few
Rough-legged Hawks in the area for comparison.  The bird has been seen
anywhere either north or south of Hwy 403 from King Rd west towards
Waterdown Rd.  There is no access to the south side of Hwy 403 in this
stretch other than from the shoulder of the highway itself which is not
recommended.  There are several industries and small business parks off the
North Service Rd in this area which give access to some of the surrounding
lands.  The bird has been seen a few times near the brick factory mentioned
above.  There is also a large hydro transformer station south of Hwy 403 and
east of King Rd which has an access road off King Rd just south of Hwy 403,
which parallels Hwy 403 for a stretch and can be checked.

Directions:  From the east: (Toronto area) take the QEW to Burlington then
exit at Brant St, go straight at the lights onto the North Service Rd and
continue west to King Rd.; (Niagara area) take the QEW to Burlington and
exit at Fairview/Plains Rd, go west on Plains Rd to King Rd, go north to the
North Service Rd.  From the west: take Hwy 403, exit at Waterdown Rd, go
north to the North Service Rd, go east on the Service Rd.

Rob Dobos
Dundas, ON
rdobos at cogeco.ca

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