Wow, I'd forgotten all about that, Ron! I should clarify that it was
very brief look and I could only speculate that it was a leucistic
Red-Tail because there didn't seem to be any other possibility other
than the wildly improbable one of a white gyrfalcon (I wish!). It was a
quick, fairly low fly-by, and though I pulled over and went looking for
it, I could not relocate it.
Other remote possibilities that did occur to me at the time were a
Glaucous Gull and a Snowy Owl, but this bird definitely had the "jizz"
of a large raptor and not an owl or a gull. It went past me tucked in a
glide, then flapped a brisk couple of times as it went just over the
treeline at the side of the road and into the field beyond.
Leucistic Red-Tails are certainly uncommon, but not so rare that having
more than one in a general area is out of the question. When I lived in
the western Boston suburbs, there were three known birds perhaps
slightly closer together than the area between Moretown and Cornwall.
I will email a raptor bander friend about the plumage, but from what I
know of it, it does seem likely that the color pattern would change a
bit from molt to molt especially in a young bird.
On 11/17/2011 10:51 AM, Ronald Payne wrote:
> It was Gary Starr who saw the bird, not me. Until this morning that is,
> when I went to Ledge Rd. to find it myself. It's pretty darn easy to
> spot being the bright white beacon at the top of a tree that it is. I'm
> not convinced that this is the same bird that has been seen by the Mad
> Birders, though. From the pictures I've seen, that one seems to be much
> more uniformly white while the Cornwall bird has some dark feathers
> around it's back and red feathers on the right side of its tail. But
> maybe the colors vary with these birds from molt to molt. I wonder if
> anyone has any information on that. What is interesting is that Jane
> Stein reported a Leucistic Red-tail on Rt. 30 on Dec. 2 last year at a
> spot about a mile away from where I saw it this morning. That is an
> intriguing similarity in location and timing.
> Ron Payne
> Middlebury, VT
> On Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:09:27 -0500, Patti Haynes
> El Blanco, as Scott Sainsbury so aptly named the lucistic Red Tailed Hawk
>> in April of 2010, was just featured on the CBS local news. Sharon
>> Myers and
>> Larry Brown(?) were discussing it and showing video from Addison Co. This
>> bird may have it's 'disabilities', just like some of us humans do, but is
>> obviously an adaptable survivor. This bird has been seen in Elmore by
>> Clarfeld of the North Branch Nature Center, and by Madbirders in June on
>> the Caledonia/Washington Co line. El Blanco has been seen most
>> recently by
>> Ron Payne and others in Addison Co,
>> Here's to survivors,