[Tweeters] Snoho Gyrfalcon stops ticking me off and I get to tick him off - 1/27/14

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Tue Jan 28 00:12:35 PST 2014

I'm SO glad I decided to go ahead and drive out to see if that Gyrfalcon might be around again today, after he was sighted by Barry this morning. It was getting dark, and I didn't have much hope of being there at a right time to get a view. Initially I drove right by some others who didn't seem to be jumping around for joy or taking any action shots with those humongous lenses, and I drove on down the road to look out into the fields and marsh to enjoy the geese, overhead swans, Red-tailed Hawks, a Northern Harrier hunting low, 6 or 7 Bald Eagles in trees or flushing the geese (they sure get a rise out of those honkers), and the denizens of ducks in the pond, all with a background of mountains and a bit of cloudage. Kinda worth the drive so far.

The bird/camera people were still milling around back up the hill toward Gyr Lookout, so I went back up there, pulled over and slowly gathered up my binocs and camera, got out of the car and moseyed up to find out what had been going on. Gregg said to me: "It just came down - see it?" I had to admit I didn't, but with G's continued assistance, I did finally spot a big bird behind billions of little sticks up in the tree near the "White House". I was then summoned over to a spot where a gal with a Norwegian first name (something like Aoshka ?) was standing, pointing out the one spot where one could get a relatively stick-free view of the Gyr. Thanks to A, I was able to get off one shot of the falcon before it took off, back over the tree, flying over the heads of a couple of the watchers and on down to the distant marsh and cover plants, vanishing for awhile, while the six of us gathered near the Big Gate, speculating whether or not it would return to the tree.

More waiting and watching - it finally got too dark for optimal photos, so Bob & G took off, leaving Dan, Cara, A and me. Luckily, C was unable to get A to leave when the clock struck 5, because, lo and behold, at approximately 5:07 p.m., A called our attention to a mid-air fracas going on out above the marsh - the Gyrfalcon was divebombing a couple of Bald Eagles - tables had turned from what some had witnessed a few days previous, when eagles were stealing duck dinner from the Gyr after he had caught it. Well, at least it seemed that the Gyr had the upper talons this time.

An exciting ending to a day that hadn't promised to be all that lucky. Thanks to G,D,C, A, & B, for having spotted the Gyr before I was there - some of them got to watch the Gyr in another deciduous tree farther south, and then fly to the "White House" tree. I am grateful for having gotten some help finding my first ever Gyrfalcon (well, actually my 2nd, but the first was on Whidbey Is. in the mid-seventies, when a friend and I spotted a white Gyr hunting near a pheasant farm near Coupeville - but that was so long ago and maybe under somewhat suspicious conditions, I prefer to discount it and just count this one ! It looks a lot more 'natural'.

Hopefully some others will post a few shots from today's Gyrfalcon encounters, but, in order to have theirs, like all the others so far, stand out in excellence, I am submitting my one Gyrfalcon pic for comparison, plus a few others of the scenery, including one that will likely be some kind of example of digital unenhancement - see if you can find it !

Here's the link to the Flickr set: Hallelujah Afternoon in the Snohomish Valley: 1/27/14:


May all falcons fly free...

Barb Deihl

North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle

barbdeihl at comcast.net

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