The day before, snow enough to drive the hawk down from the mountains, past the foothills, into the front range.
That day, the terror of prey. Two dozen House Finches. Waxwings, after.
Also, luck. The dumbest of kinds. To have left home for the trails later than usual, owing to cold and wind. To have walked this way, toward where the bird would be a half hour later, rather than that way, though that way is no worse than this.
To be in the path as the prey flee. To turn toward where the bird will be. To see it with the field marks visible, even as it cuts behind houses and ornamental trees.
I was fortunate, on the first of the year, to encounter these signs and their bird, an adult Northern Goshawk, along the High Line Canal Trail in Cherry Hills Village. This was my third encounter with a Goshawk. All have been along the canal, in conditions roughly similar to those described above. But this sighting was particularly meaningful, coming both on January 1 (first bird flicker; best bird…) and in the urban Denver CBC circle on the morning of the count.
Featured image (not my bird): Alecu Gabriel on Unsplash