Topics

Interesting dark buteo

John Callender
 

This isn't about a bird I saw (though I wish I had). But several different people reported an unusual dark buteo yesterday, or perhaps more than one of them, and I'd be interested in hearing opinions from people about whether these are the same or different birds, and what it or they are.

Marc Better posted an eBird list from the Bates Rd. bridge (Ventura County) hotspot yesterday that included photos of a bird identified as a Zone-tailed Hawk. See:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S60402876

Thomas Turner posted an eBird list from Farren Rd. with photos of a similar bird, but identified it as a Broad-winged Hawk. See:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S60402191

Marc's list covered the time from 9:10 a.m. until 12:25 p.m.; it's not clear to me when in that span of time he took his photos. Tom's list covers from 10:07 a.m. to 11:47 a.m.; again, I'm not sure when he took his photos of the hawk. A later eBird list from Mark Holmgren and William Kaempfer reported the same bird as Thomas's (but without photos) at Ferren Rd.; that list covered the period from 11:29 a.m. until 12:53 p.m. Their list can be seen here:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S60404409

It seems possible to me that the same bird could have managed to get on all three lists. And (again) at least to my inexperienced eye, the photos look very similar, and even after going through a few references and staring at the photos I'm not sure what's going on.

Thoughts?

John Callender
Carpinteria

Steven Gaulin
 

Thanks to John Callender for his interesting comments. 
My opinion is that both birds were correctly identified by the original observers (Zone-tailed on Bates Road, and Broad-winged on Farren Road, both being juveniles of course). I can make out a yellow cere only the Bates Road bird. Only the Farren Road bird has dark primary tips and a light crescent in the wing linings at the base of the primaries. I see all of these observations as consistent with the original IDs.

Curious to know what others think.

Steven Gaulin
Santa Barbara