Immature Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) hunting on the ground
Last evening, after we both got home from work, we went for a walk at our favorite natural area. Rounding a bend and entering a field, a hawk swooped down out of a tree and onto the ground. I thought that it had caught prey, but the hawk didn't take off again immediately. Instead, it stayed on the ground for about five minutes, walking and hopping around in the matted grasses. I suspect that it was trying to catch mice or voles that it could hear scurrying in the vegetation but couldn't quite see. It probably would have remained there longer, continuing the same behavior, except that other walkers approached from the opposite direction. The hawk stayed on the ground for several minutes even while the other walkers looked on, but either it finally got spooked or was unsuccessful in its pursuits and it took off and perched in a tree far across the field. Further into our walk, along the creek that flows through the preserve, we came upon a fly fisherman trying his luck as the sun was going down. While the stream is too warm to support a self-sustaining trout fishery, the local chapter of Trout Unlimited stocks the creek each year with non-native Brown Trout (Salmo trutta), and some of the fish actually seem to persist in the creek year-to-year despite its warmth and generally urban character.