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Subject:West Skyline Hawk Count raptors with photos (today)
From:Erik Bruhnke <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Erik Bruhnke <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 31 Mar 2011 23:54:22 -0500

I had a great day counting the raptors today atop Duluth. The morning
started out a little slow, but once the light east breeze kicked around,
raptors really made their way through. Counting raptors is such a fun time!
As a result of calm conditions turning into sustained east winds, I had to
switch sites this morning - starting at the "Enger Tower site," and move to
the "Thompson Hill site." As soon as I went in my vehicle and headed towards
Thompson HIll, one of the local Peregrine Falcons flew no more than 50 feet
overhead. It was so cool!

The first raptor of the day (today) was a Gray Ghost; a term you might hear
during a visit to Hawk Ridge. A "Gray Ghost" is an adult male Northern
Harrier. They have deep silvery-gray backsides to the wings, with snow-white
undersides. When viewed in flight, especially at a distance, the subtle
overall flashes of gray-white-gray-white are very striking!

One of the biggest highlights of my day today was spotting a partial-albino
Red-tailed Hawk. I was at Thompson Hill, looking at the lake, when suddenly
something caught my peripheral vision in the northeast direction. A white
(yet red-tailed) bird flew by. It was fun to see this bird zip by so
closely. It couldn't have been more than 150 feet out as it passed over the
road, just a little above eye-level. I didn't have my camera out in time,
but grabbed the camera, and quickly sprinted down the hill, to see if I
could get a few document-able photos. Here are some shots of that bird,
which were taken as it was circling a great distance away:

In case you're interested, here is what I observed today while scanning the
skies for raptors...

In the near future, I will be posting some pictures/happenings from trips
throughout this past week, plus sightings and maybe some photos from my
visit to the bog tomorrow. It sure is fun seeing migrating birds moving into
the area. An American Robin was caroling his little heart out this afternoon
just outside of our house :-)

Good birdwatching,
Erik Bruhnke
Duluth, MN

*NATURALLY AVIAN* - Bird photography and guided birdwatching tours

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