The Great Black Hawk is a hawk of Central America that has never been recorded north of the Rio Grand river. In April, one showed up in Corpus Christi TX which is as close to Mexico as you can get without climbing over that stupid wall. It was a one-day-wonder. Seen, then gone assumingly back over the border. But then in August, the same hawk was reported in Maine of all places. But again, it disappeared after just 2 days. In November, the bird was re-found in a city park in Portland Maine. This time, the bird found a suitable habitat and has been in or around the park for 2 months. I had to go see the bird but didn't have time with work and holiday travel obligations. I hoped that the bird would be around after New Year. It did.
I drove up to Maine with a birder that I haven't traveled with before. We had a great time. We left at 1:00 AM, arrived in Portland at 7:15 AM and had the bird by 7:30. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Sara did the research that said the bird was hanging out in trees across the street from the "Holy Donut" shop. Ta-da.
This bird is a juvenile hawk otherwise it would in fact be black. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have given this bird another look if I didn't know it was super rare. It looks like a lot of other common hawks. The bird is molting out his/her kid feathers and starting to grow the black ones. You can see a few popping in on the bird's back in this photo.
We were home by 3:30 PM with another mega rare bird on our list and a few fun stories.
UPDATE: Sadly, the Great Black Hawk succumbed to frost bite and was euthanized in February.