Scott et al.,
This is indeed a leucistic Red-tail; one with even fewer stray dark
feathers than most we have experienced in life or via photos. Leucism
seems surprisingly common in Red-tails, given how infrequently it is
seen in other raptors. If it's a resident there will likely be
additional sightings, so thanks for giving everyone the heads-up.
Walter Ellison & Nancy Martin
On 4/18/2010 9:31 AM, Scott Sainsbury wrote:
> On the way home from Ken Copenhaven's great walk at Mississquoi yesterday, I was driving along the Mad River heading south on 100b in Moretown. Between the Ward Swimming Hole and hydro dam (about 2 miles south of Rt 2), something big and white on the far side of the river caught my eye. At 55 mph, I thought, "Snowy owl??? Can't be." and hit the brakes. The bird was sitting in a tree about 400-500 yards away. Through my binoculars, I could clearly see that it was a hawk. It was all white other than some darker coloration on the wing tips. I grabbed my camera and started shooting. The bird took off and moved further down the river. I followed it and got more looks. It flew again -- crossed the river and disappeared over the hill heading west.
> None of my photos are very good. I don't have a very long lens and the bird was a long ways off. I blew them up as best I could. You can see them at:http://gallery.me.com/beacon1#100016 (scroll past the pics of tree swallows)
> Perhaps it was a leucistic Red-tailed Hawk?? There was one reported along the Winooski in our area last winter.
> Scott Sainsbury