The first came while we were walking along a road in Wickenburg called Jack Burden Road. I have found Gray Hawk here in previous years, as there are a lot of mesquite bosques and nice stands of willow/cottonwood riparian trees. When we arrived, it looked to me like some people decided to thin out the riparian trees. WHY!???!! I was angry at the sight of it, and we didn't hear or see any Gray Hawks for the longest time. But as we were heading out, we saw the shape, color, jizz, size, and appearance we were wanting to see!
Although the Gray Hawk is found along the Hassayampa River breeding in small numbers, I was thrilled to see they are in this section along Jack Burden for another year.
The Gray Hawk is a looker, and is one handsome raptor. It is a popular one for out-of-state birders, especially in southeastern Arizona, where most of the Gray Hawk population resides. But luckily, Maricopa County has it's own population too in the dense riparian forests along the Hassayampa River.
As we were birding at Hassayampa and waiting for that hopeful Northern Waterthrush, we did have a nice flyover of a Zone-tailed Hawk.
The Zone-tailed Hawk is one that has to be watched for carefully. When it flies and soars, it holds it's wings in a dehydral similar to that of a Turkey Vulture. But with white-tail bands and a nice-looking instead of a hideous face, that will immediately rule confirm a Zonie rather than a Turkey (especially at close range).
We also heard a Red-shouldered Hawk calling in the Hassayampa River Preserve's dense habitats without a visual, but another cool one to know was around in the area! Hawks rule!