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Not to belabor this endlessly, but although he said "coverts" 
(with a question mark), he clearly meant retrices-- on the 
"outside of the tail," he said, and like a Junco.

You are so right that size is terribly deceptive, but even male 
Goshawks are quite chunky in appearance and it would be awfully 
hard to mistake one even momentarily for the elongated form of a 
Pileated, I think.

Jane

Bob Crowley wrote:

> I would not rule out a male goshawk which are smaller than the females. 
> It was reported as white tail coverts not tail feathers. Goshawks are 
> gray with prominent white tail coverts. Some people refer to them as 
> cottontail. Size is deceptive. Flight as described is that of an 
> accipiter. Thanks for the question.
> 
> Bob Crowley
> Chatham, NH
> 
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jane Stein" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 10:40 AM
> Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] mystery bird
> 
> 
>> Mockingbird is a good guess, if this wasn't too far north.
>>
>> Surely not a Gos, since they're a big, chunky bird, are either dark 
>> slate gray (adult) or mottled brown and buff on the back (immature), 
>> with long tails that have broad bands and no white retrices.
>>
>> Jane
>> Shoreham
>>
>> Peter Manship wrote:
>>
>>> Could also be a Northern Mockingbird which has the white outside tail 
>>> feathers, is generally grayish in color, is smaller in size but 
>>> flying could look pileated size at a distance.
>>>
>>> Peter Manship
>>> Ludlow Vt
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Bob Crowley" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 8:14 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] mystery bird
>>>
>>>
>>>> How about a Northern Goshawk?
>>>>
>>>> Bob Crowley
>>>> Chatham, NH
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Justin Woods" 
>>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 7:18 AM
>>>> Subject: [VTBIRD] mystery bird
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Hey all--
>>>>
>>>> I have a mystery bird, but very few details, maybe not enough to go 
>>>> on...
>>>>
>>>> A couple of mornings ago, a large bird swooped over my car and into a
>>>> neighbor's yard -- my first thought was raptor.  By large, I mean
>>>> Pileated-sized.  It flew low over the yard, glided, pumped its wings a
>>>> couple of times, and headed back into the trees, much higher.
>>>>
>>>> The thing was all gray on the back, and all I could see were distinctly
>>>> white tail (coverts?) feathers on the outside of the tail, which was
>>>> otherwise the same color as its back.  The colors were clearly 
>>>> delineated. It reminded me of junco coloring.
>>>>
>>>> Gos?  Any other guesses?  The mystery is bugging me...
>>>>
>>>> Thanks!
>>>>
>>>> --justin
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
> 
>