When I got word of a rare Great Black Hawk, a non-migratory raptor I'd seen and photographed in Belize several years ago, had somehow magically appeared in Portland, Maine, I thought it might be worth a column in The Record.
When I realized just how rare it was -- and how little fanfare it was getting compared to the released Mandarin in Central Park -- I knew I had to write something right away. I interviewed Doug Hitchcox of Maine Audubon, who also supplied the images that appear with the column on line.
Thus, my column for The Record scheduled to appear in print in two weeks is online already.
You can read it here.
Here's how it begins:
By now, you’ve likely heard about the gorgeous Mandarin duck appearing almost daily in New York City's Central Park. Since its arrival in October, the web-footed wonder has become a social media sensation – even though he isn’t wild or rare.
While Mandarin Patinkin, as he has been dubbed, has hogged the limelight, a genuinely rare raptor from Central and South America has arrived from out of the blue in Maine.
The great black hawk had never been reported anywhere in the United States before this year, let alone 2,000 miles from home. The young raptor first showed up in Texas in April, reappeared in August in Biddeford, Maine, and then turned up in late November in Portland, Maine.
A photo of Maine's Great Black Hawk, taken by Doug Hitchcox, is above.
A photo that I took of one at Chan Chich Lodge in Belize is below.