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Continuing Del Norte Gyrfalcon

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  • Rob Fowler
    Hi all, Today Ken Burton, Chet Ogan, George Zyminski, and myself saw the continuing Gyrfalcon in Del Norte County. Take Highway 101 to Fred Haight Drive, which
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 14, 2007
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      Hi all,
      Today Ken Burton, Chet Ogan, George Zyminski, and myself saw the continuing
      Gyrfalcon in Del Norte County. Take Highway 101 to Fred Haight Drive, which
      is just north of the Smith River. Drive past the Alexandre Dairy on the west
      side of the road. You will see a dirt road that goes to the west a short
      distance after the dairy and then a distinct paved road with a gate. I might
      recommend to not park here as we were slightly "harassed" by somebody that
      must have been affiliated with the gravel operation at the end of the road.
      The Gyrfalcon seems be in this general area in mid- to late-afternoon, as it
      has been seen in this area for the past three days from around 2:30 p.m.
      (approximately when we had it today) to near sundown (when it was first
      reported by Lucas Brug as a "possible" Gyrfalcon 2 days ago). Be mindful of
      private property, of course.

      We saw the Gyrfalcon around 2:30 and was directed to it by a Peregrine
      Falcon harassing it. The sighting wasn't the most pleasing views, since much
      of the observation was in backlit conditions, but we all considered this
      bird to be a Gyrfalcon. The bird was very dark (possibly more so due to the
      backlighting conditions when we saw the bird) and was about 25% larger than
      the Peregrine Falcon that was harassing it. It seemed to have a very dark
      face pattern, without a hint of a malar mark, very broad, blunt tipped
      wings, and had a noticeably long tail. In flight the bird had a different
      flight style from the Peregrine, being very powerful looking with stiff wing
      beats, and more of a heavier chested appearance (analagous to the difference
      between Parasitic to Pomarine Jaeger structure). I got to see the bird perch
      very briefly on a tall dead snag to the east of Fred Haight Drive, Peregrine
      still harassing thoroughly. Though I only was able to see the wings and tail
      of the bird (since it was perched on the side of the snag opposite from our
      position) I was able to clearly see that the wings were noticeable shorter
      than the length of the tail. If you're only gonna see only part of a perched
      Gyrfalcon, the wings and the tail while are probably the most preferred!

      I would have liked better looks of the bird but, alas, I had looks! Good
      luck to the ones who try for it in the near future!

      If the bird is still being seen by next Monday, I would be willing to share
      gas with somebody to try and see it again.

      Del Norte continues to ROCK!!!

      Rob

      --
      Rob Fowler
      Arcata, CA


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