The Strangest Raptor Photo I’ve Ever Taken

I was back at Beamer Point CA outside of Grimsby, Ontario on April 6. Contrary to expectation, it was very sunny with a cold north wind blowing off Lake Ontario. This created perfect blue skies which made it extremely difficult to see any birds. The birds that were seen were generally very high. The net effect of the wind and clear skies was about 200 migrating hawks observed, something of a let down from April 5 where almost 1,300 raptors migrated. The wind was so cold that I was wearing 4 layers of clothes including a hat and gloves and was still freezing.

Despite the lack of numbers, a good number of species were seen including northern goshawk (juvenile), red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk (juvenile), American kestrel, osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, northern harrier and turkey vulture. Excellent pictures were taken of juvenile goshawk and red-shouldered hawk. It is easy to see how a juvenile red-shouldered hawk can be confused with a red-tailed hawk.

I took the strangest picture of a migrating turkey vulture, it’s the first picture in the gallery. When I first looked at it, I was dumbfounded trying to figure out what was going. Either the turkey vulture is deformed, imps do exist or the angle makes it seem like the vulture has no head. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The best bird of the day was a wild turkey that flew across the parking lot and into the field south of the parking lot. After seeing the gracefulness of the hawks dancing through the air, the turkey looked like a cannonball with wings. It did provide some much needed relief and laughter could be heard all around as people watched the bird violently flap to its destination. I was laughing so hard, I didn’t get any pictures of it.

Other birds seen included fox sparrow, lots of song sparrows, eastern phoebes, tree swallow, red-bellied woodpecker, and several flocks of cedar waxwings. No kinglets were seen in the forest.

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