Just a day after we returned from New Mexico, a juvenile Gray Hawk was discovered by Eric Culbertson in Carpinteria, CA – not only a first Santa Barbara County record but first record ever in California. To give you an idea of how improbable this is, this is a bird that is normally found in South and Central America. It’s range barely extends into the extreme Southeastern corner of Arizona. I’ve photographed them many times in Patagonia, AZ – just 25 or so miles from the Mexico border. The even cooler part is the bird decided to stick around the entire winter!
I decided to take my chances waiting for morning rush hour to end and rush up the 160 or so round-trip miles to Carpinteria to photograph the bird. Lucky for me, the bird was perched in a cypress tree right on the side of the highway as I drove up. I almost felt guilty spending 5 minutes photographing the bird (before it flew off) and then getting back in my car to drive home. Total time invested: 3 hours.