[Tweeters] PRAIRIE FALCON at Eide Road

valvb1 at comcast.net valvb1 at comcast.net
Thu Feb 7 08:35:51 PST 2013

I apologize for the late notice.  Several of us found a PRAIRIE FALCON along Eide Road on Sunday, February 5.  Not having heard of a prairie being seen this winter, we were all skeptical at first.  We first observed the bird flying from the south, over our heads as we were approaching our vehicles (we were coming back from observing SNOWY OWLS (more on that later).  None of us saw it well, but it fortuitously landed in the trees about 1/4 mile to the north of the concrete parking lot.  We all walked up with our scopes and observed the bird for over 10 minutes, noting the pale brown upperparts, including the pale brown crown, nape, and macular stripe, with some mottling on the back of the head.  The upper breast was snowy white, with black spots lower down on the breast on belly, and bold black short bars on the flanks.  The bird obligingly flew (back to the south) enabling us to get good looks at the black axillaries, resolving any doubts that any of us might had that it was in fact a prairie falcon.  Later I spoke with Bud Anderson (sorry to be a name-dropper) and Bud confirmed that no prairies had yet been seen this winter in the area.

When we arrived at the site, we went south from the parking lot a few hundred feet and found 3 SNOWY OWLS very close to the dike (within 150 feet!).  It was even more special as we were treated to the range of plumages--one was bright white with virtually no mottling; one was extremely mottled, and the third was a "tweener".  Earlier, about 1/2 mile north of the Port Susan Preserve parking lot at the end of Boe Road, we saw two snowy owls perched together.

One final note--having observed the prairie falcon, we knew we now had a chance for a five-falcon day, and immediately set out to find the GYR at Fir Island.  However, after 2 hours of driving up and down and around Dry Slough Road and environs, we did not locate it.   Still the prairie and snowies made it a very special day!

Ken Brunner


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