My usual walking route takes me past the elementary school. East of the school near a drainage canal is a grassy playground with several trees. Frequently I see two large birds either in the trees or foraging in the grass. We have lots of hawks here Amongst The Oaks, and they look like hawks to me, but they don't act like hawks.
Sunday I finally remembered my camera and got this photo of one of the birds perched in the tree. Then while I was watching, it swooped down to the lawn and after digging around a bit, ate something.
I watched it for quite a while and got this shot of it on the ground. Isn't it beautiful?
When I got home I looked it up using Cornell's excellent site and discovered that it is a red shouldered hawk. They eat small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and crayfish. They are a year-round California species and live in forests and riparian areas, often near water. They drop down on their prey from the canopy just like I'd observed. So you kids better shape up, 'cause there's a new playground supervisor, and he looks serious.