Juvenile Goshawk in Anatolian sky

An Accipiter hawk does fly low over the nicely constructed road south of Erzurum. I jump out of the car and keep on shooting with my Canon EF 400mm 1:4 DO IS II USM on a Canon EOS R 5. At home, I sort out the images. When viewing in Lightroom, my first thought is: Levant Sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes); it is definitely not a “normal” Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus). I have to doubt this determination more and more as I continue to look at the images of this shooting. The iris is yellow. That doesn’t fit the Levant Sparrowhawk at all. However, the bird actually has the stripes along its flanks and belly. And: There is no visible superciliary stripe. The bird appears almost rust-colored on the underside, with a strong contrast between the dark red underwing-coverts and the lighter secondaries. On the upper side, however, the bird is light gray with several whitish edges. That suggests a young bird. I’m almost at the young Schikra (Accipiter badius) when I come to pictures that show the circling bird with a much smaller raptor, a Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus). I would now take it for a Common Kestrel, a young male. Then it becomes clear to me: it could be a young, possibly male, Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). The relevant bird of prey literature doesn’t help right away either. Gensböl and also Forsman emphasize that the southern individuals of the goshawk can appear smaller but also darker and redder. But I can’t find any pictures of young individuals oft he southern races on the internet. Unfortunately, the number of fingers doesn’t really help me, too. I would not have expected a Goshawk in this dry, barren landscape. But I put the young male Goshawk with the young Kestrels up for discussion on Birdforum.net. The vote is unanimous: it is a young Goshawk!

Actually we were looking for ruins of Küçük Palandöken Tabya and Büyük Palandöken Tabya. But somehow the road keeps going up. But then we end up at Palandöken Gecidi, which is over 2,800 m above sea level. The journey goes on a very well developed, winding, steep route through a beautiful landscape. The street is so new that it isn’t even marked in the sat nav or in Komoot. As we get into the mountains and drive up the valley, we don’t see the griffin that high in the sky.

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