SF birds from Hawk Hill: Bald Eagle and two Ferruginous Hawks

Sam _
 

Hi all,

I spent much of the day up on Hawk Hill (my first time there for a hawk watch), paying attention to what crossed over towards SF. With an official GGRO count of 567 raptors there was plenty of action and it was interesting to observe flight paths of southbound birds and cross-reference with what I’ve seen from the city (and what others have described to me). Most birds seemed to cross relatively far to the east, and would probably be tough to pick out from the places like Battery Godfrey, but might be visible from somewhere like Fort Mason? Birds that crossed west of the bridge generally seemed to haul across the channel, very fast and direct. I noted multiple accipiters and falcons head south from above Hawk Hill, then once about half way over the water suddenly drop in elevation before passing over or in front of Battery Godfrey. I thought this could explain why birds sometimes seem to materialize out of nowhere near BG—perhaps they often are too high to notice until they make that drop? I’m working with pretty small sample sizes here, but something I’d like to keep trying to observe.

Anyway, highlights in SF airspace were:
- 1 sub-adult Bald Eagle that blew past the Hill pursued by ravens at 11:30 and headed straight over Presidio. This is almost certainly bird Josiah saw from Mountain Lake.
- 2 juvenile Ferruginous Hawks. First bird slowly worked its way along Slacker Ridge before crossing east of the bridge, out over Alcatraz and Treasure Island around 2:30. Second circled a few times over channel close to Marin before crossing somewhere high over the Presidio around 3:00.

Otherwise a couple Osprey and White-Tailed Kites, a few Peregrines and Merlins and Red-shouldereds, and dozens of accipiters and Red-taileds. There was one big flock of 250 Band-tailed Pigeons that followed the path of the bridge over to the city and another smaller flock over the channel that had some peeps mixed in (is that particularly odd?). Only one group of geese, a flock of 35 Canada that flew into the Gate towards the end of the afternoon.

Fun stuff,
Sam

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