[Tweeters] Jaegers in the mountains?

Rick Klawitter klawitterrichard at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 2 21:17:40 PDT 2013

Sunday around 5 PM over the high country meadow we call Marmot Flats along the Obstruction Point Road in the Olympic Mountains two raptor-like birds flew towards me twenty feet above ground. I watch for raptors at this time of year because of their reputed predation on marmots in the fall. These birds were unusual and my first thought was Peregrine falcon because of their size and pointed wing shape, too large for a kestrel and not the typical harriers, accipiters, red-tails or eagles I am accustom to seeing. But as they approached and flew past me I noted three characters which didn't match this identification: distinct white patches at the base of the primaries on the undersides of the wings, central tail feathers protruding past the others and a head shape and bill more similar to a gull than a falcon. And even though I have no personal history of sighting a jaeger before, I thought jaeger, which later checking Sibley seems probable. Because of my inexperience with these birds, I have no idea which species they might have been. Seeing them in the mountains was a stunningly unexpected experience. I'd be interested to know if there is a history of other such sightings, or, based on what I have described, another more likely bird identification which matches these characteristics. Unfortunately no photograph. They were too quick and ascended high over head, circling out of sight. Bob Boekelheide, where are you when I need you?

Rick Klawitter

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