Something big flew by right in front of my nose.
That was the impression I got when I walked out from the back door of the winery building one day. It went by so quickly so I couldn’t tell what it was first. It was flying across the street then landed on a tree branch in the neighbor’s yard. I was slowly walking toward the house while waiting for it to stop moving. I could tell it was watching me, too. I’m sort of a bird watcher, but couldn’t figure out what kind of bird of prey it was. We kept looking as we wound up surprising each other.
Since then I realized the presence of the bird nearby. He is often perched on the telephone pole right next to my mail box. Or sometimes he was in the woods behind the vineyard. After seeing his streaked underparts through the binoculars a number of times, I was getting fairly confident that he was a yound red tail hawk. Then came a rare stormy day of this winter, he was in the squall struggling to get to wherever he was hoping to. One moment he spread his tail wide to keep the balance finally showing me the entire rusty red tail. He gave up going against the winds and glided back into the woods.
He doesn’t seem to hang around as much these days. As he grows up, perhaps his radius of activity expands and goes further for a prey. The days are getting longer and year-round robbins appear in sight more frequently. I’ve started to look forward to a return of northern harriers across the street in coming days.