While driving along Marion Drain this morning, I passed a raptor perched above the north rim of the drain. Slowed a bit thinking it was a male Northern Harrier. It flushed, flying to my rear and my casual look didn't detect the anticipated white rump patch. Hey! Slammed on the brakes and jumped out as a mentor (I shall not mention names here) used to do...engine running, door open. Got my bins on him, then grabbed the scope from the pickup bed when it found another perch on the drain's rim. Great views of the adult bird's back and tail plus the wide, white supercilium as it looked over its shoulder. One of the best open door, engine running studies I've had. Fortunately there was zero traffic.
A bit confusing, were two white "spots" on the back of the dark head. The Wheeler "Raptors of North America" states that the white supercilium has a minimal of dark streaking and often extends as a mottled white area on the nape. I turned around and followed for two more short hops to perches along the north side of the drain. Last observed it while it was perched in some sparse trees along Marion Drain approximately one-half mile west of Old Goldendale Road. The bird followed the drain bank with each move as if it was the preferred hunting habitat. Wheeler states that they will hunt open spaces for ground squirrels, hares, rodents.
Befuddled Birder by 3700 Boonie Boon
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