Possible Broad-winged Hawk(s) this afternoon above Bella Vista Rd
I birded for a little over an hour this afternoon from the hawkwatch site on Bella Vista Road (the site actually on the road, next to the wall at 2755 Bella Vista Road, rather than the site up the hill reached via the Romero Canyon Trail). I was inspired to do so by Joan Lentz pointing out that there was a recent pulse of Broad-winged Hawks reported by the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory; see:
The GGRO reported 18 Broad-wingeds on Wednesday, and 5 more on Thursday. So this seemed like a good time to see if any of them were coming through the Santa Barbara area.
I saw as many as four birds that were possible Broad-winged Hawks. The first two were relatively close; they were circling directly uphill from me, right above the upper hawkwatch site. It made me wish I was up there. :-)
The two birds were circling with a pair of Red-tailed Hawks, and were noticeably smaller than them to the naked eye. I got brief views of one of the smaller hawks through binoculars, and it looked good for Broad-winged to me. I didn't study it, though; instead I tried to get photos, and unfortunately succeeded only in photographing one of the Red-taileds. Doh!
I subsequently saw two more-distant birds (or the same bird twice), flying above the ridge well to the east of the hawkwatch site. They were too far away for me to identify them through binoculars, but they looked promising. I got distant photos; you can see them in the eBird list below. I'm cautiously optimistic that they're identifiably Broad-winged, but I'd appreciate getting feedback from experts.