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October 2012


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Rare Bird Alert <[log in to unmask]>
David Benson <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 31 Oct 2012 20:32:22 -0600
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David Benson <[log in to unmask]>
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At about 4:15 this afternoon (10/31), Pam Benson and I saw a young,
gray-morph Gyrfalcon chasing pigeons in downtown Grand Marais. After about
five minutes of showy (but unsuccessful) maneuvers and stoops, it flew
southeast to Artist's Point and perched in a birch tree. We drove to the
East Bay parking lot and had great looks from there with the setting sun
behind us. After about another ten minutes, it flew across the harbor to
the west, out of sight.

We returned to the search for the kingbird; having looked for quite a while
with no luck, we were waiting by the courthouse at 5th Ave W and 2nd St.
The bird flew up from the yard that is across 4th Ave and began hawking
insects against the courthouse wall near the evergreens in front. We left
at about 4:50.

We also saw the Northern Mockingbird in the birch tree at the NW corner of
3rd Ave W and 2nd St, a dozen Bohemian Waxwings, three cowboys, and two
pirates (one scary).

Dave Benson

The Gyr was a bulky, big falcon, brownish overall, with some vertical
streaking on the belly and coverts slightly darker than the flight
feathers. The upperwings were uniform, with darker wing tips. The facial
pattern was indistinct, with a hint of a slightly darker moustache mark,
but no other dark markings and no light supercilium; the area behind the
eye was clear gray/brown. Bare parts were grayish. When perched, the folded
wings fell well short of the tip of the tail. In straight-line flight, the
wingbeats were stiff and steady, and the bird had a slight hunchback.

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