Cooper’s Hawk vs. Sharp-shinned Hawk February 21, 2015

While on the Bell View Trail today in Rancho Santa Margarita with my cohort Mike Sanders, the both of us spotted an Accipiter flying overhead.  Mike had his binoculars, I was viewing the Accipiter with a 400mm lens and trying to obtain exposure for the image.  Mike declared this was a Cooper’s Hawk.  About a minute later what appeared to be the same Accipiter flew back over the ridge and I did note clearly the squared off tail, took a another photo and was confident this was a Sharp-shinned Hawk.  What I didn’t realize due to the 3″ screen on the rear of the camera and back lit subjects, we had just seen both:  A Cooper’s Hawk adult and Sharp-shinned Hawk immature approximately 1 minute apart.  Post processing this evening demystified our sighting today and an updated eBird entry reflecting both Accipiters. Here’s the two images overlapped into a single image that solved the mystery – we were both correct.

eBird Checklist for 2-21-2015 at Bell View Trail

Both birds seen in exact same location 1 minute and 7 seconds apart
Both birds seen in exact same location 1 minute and 7 seconds apart

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