My first thought when he flew through the yard was, "That ain't no sharpie!"
I don't claim to be the expert identifier, especially birds of prey, and even more so in flight, but this guy was BIG! A Northern Goshawk had visited our yard a number of times this summer, so some of his characteristics were known to me: a large woodland bird of prey with grey back and whitish underparts and inside wings. What I didn't know is whether he'd be around at this time of year. I had to hope he'd come back for another pass through the yard for another (better) look.
And that he did. He chased a jay through the yard and off about 400 yards or so before passing on that one. He immediately looped back for another pass through the yard. This was so cool!
Betting on another return pass, I stepped outside the door with my camera, and sure enough, he returned to perch on the telephone pole, the same perch our summer goshawk used this summer (could it be the same bird??) I got several passable pix and a good look - finely streaked breast, intense red eyes, that broad white stripe over the eye that give the goshawk an "I'm the boss" look. He continured to hunt the area for about 20 minutes, passing through the yard one more time.
From our little patch of land - under three acres - we've enjoyed watching the activities of 3 accipiters: the Sharp shinned Hawk, the Cooper's Hawk, and the Northern Goshawk. I'm so lucky to be able to look out my front windows and step out my front door to experience a sight like I did yesterday. Take time to be grateful for the nature that surrounds you every day.