On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!
Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com
Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!
What a wonderful way to start out the week, and it’s only going to get better!
Today, pictures from valued commenter Albatrossity.
These are not pics from when I was on the road, but rather pics of birds that visit my part of the country for the fall or winter. All are hawks that I have seen and photographed within a few miles of my house in 2018. Some have probably traveled a great distance to see me, and I appreciate their annual visitations.
Taken on 2018-08-29 00:00:00
This fish-eating hawk does not breed in Kansas, but is a regular spring and fall visitor, occasionally lingering into the winter in mild years.
Taken on 2018-12-05 00:00:00
Merlins are smallish falcons who migrate into the state in early fall and back home to their more northern breeding sites in early spring. They are fast and wary, and I felt extremely fortunate to get a flight shot of this one.
Taken on 2018-10-12 00:00:00
This young peregrine falcon had just sat through a rain shower and was looking kinda grumpy and bedraggled. Peregrines did not historically breed in Kansas, since they require rocky cliffs and outcrops and there are precious few of those here. But now there are breeding pairs on tall buildings in Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City. Still, most peregrines sighted in the state are passage birds in spring and fall, as they follow the duck and shorebird flocks to Texas and back.
Taken on 2018-11-21 00:00:00
Harlan’s Hawk is a subspecies of the common North American raptor, the Red-tailed Hawk. This subspecies breeds in Alaska and the Yukon, and has many variable plumages. This all-dark form is the rarest of all of them, and is also know by another name, the Black Warrior, which was given to it by none other than John James Audubon. These birds appear in the plains in October and head back north in April. They might just be my favorite red-tail variation!
Taken on 2018-10-08 00:00:00
Krider’s Hawk is another subspecies of the Red-tailed Hawk, on the other end of the darkness spectrum from Harlan’s. This juvenile shows the white-headed and white-tailed look of the subspecies, and I hope it comes back next year as a full adult, which is an even more striking plumage. Krider’s breeding range is in the southern parts of the Canadian Prairie Provinces down into western Nebraska and western Minnesota; they winter on the Great Plains and further south into Texas and Louisiana. This is the most uncommon of all the subspecies of the Red-tailed Hawk.
Thank you so much Albatrossity, do send us more when you can.
Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.