Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Harrier?

Not the Red-shouldered Hawk!

On a recent, foggy visit to Wavecrest Open Space in Half Moon Bay, I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk perched on a branch.

I took a few photos and kept my camera focused on it in the hope that I would catch it as it flew off. I didn’t have to wait long.

I followed its flight — not noticing that a Northern Harrier was also following its flight.

Here is where I realized that another bird had entered the picture.

The Red-shouldered Hawk is heading to the ground.

After a couple quick maneuvers around each other, both birds landed on the ground.

The Northern Harrier regards the Red-shouldered Hawk.

The Red-shouldered Hawk casually approached the Northern Harrier as if unaware of its presence. It was poking about in the ground as if it had dropped something.

Eventually, the Red-shouldered flew off, empty-handed. Or, rather, empty-clawed.

In addition to those two raptors, Katherine (who had accompanied me along with our good friends, Mark and Robin) and I saw a variety of other birds, including Say’s Phoebes, a Hermit Thrush, Brown-headed Cowbirds, a Great Blue Heron and more.

Say's Phoebe

Image 1 of 6

As we were heading out, we saw another Red-shouldered Hawk. I assume it was a different one but it had the same kind of affect on other birds: “Get lost!”

In addition to the above birds, we also saw Surf Scoters, Brown Pelicans, Hummingbirds, Great Egrets, American Kestrels, Northern Flickers, European Starlings, Western Meadowlarks, Black Phoebes, American Robins and Sparrows (both White- and Golden-crowned).

Wavecrest–a great place for birding.

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