Continuing Del Norte Gyrfalcon
- 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!!!
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