One Less Grackle

Brian Fitch

I started the morning at the concrete bridge, but not for the vireo.  I waited at the NE corner until the rails began to sound off, and was eventually able to see and hear my FOY Virginia and hear a Sora.  Several regular warbler species were in the penguin trees.

On my way back toward the canal, I stopped near the parking area as I noted a hawk barreling toward me at full speed, and at waist height.  The bird passed between the willows and the bathroom, swept within a few feet of me as it swerved into the wood chip covered area, and grabbed an adult male Great-tailed Grackle, sending chips flying.  It held the grackle for several seconds before taking it across the street into the big oak by the VG canal.  I had expected it to be a Red-shouldered because of the low flight, but it was a first year Red-tailed, which impressed me very much.  A young bird making such a sophisticated maneuver, using the port-a-potty and possibly me as a screen in order to nail the grackle.   More than 25 grackles were out today, so there are plenty of them left if you're a grackle aficionado.

After refinding the Brewer's at Sutro Heights, I went over to Battery Godfrey and did a short hawkwatch between 11:40 and 12:40.  Six migrant Red-taileds, three Broad-wingeds, and a Sharp-shinned flew by during that time.
Brian Fitch