Early this morning, my lovely lady friend informed me of a big falcon sitting on the nearby condo building - as I lazily rolled around the bed and decidedly not helping with anything...
I eventually got up to take a peek, and this beastly boy was staring back at me. Despite the point-blank views at 40x in my scope (virtually eye level) - I just couldn't quite say what it was.
I've seen some pretty odd/goofy looking adult and sub-adult Peregrine's in my day. And I also know that falconers occasionally lose crazy hybrids. But it kinda looked like a Gyrfalcon?
The wings seemed a bit too long, and it really had a Peregrine-Like "helmet" look to it... But it still kinda looked like a Gyrfalcon?
I did what I do best, and started taking a lot of photos. The camera couldn't handle the temperature differences and heat shimmer of the building nearly as well as the scope - so I can't quite share the bird in all of its glory - but you get the idea.
I've only seen maybe 15 Gyrfalcons in my life, which is not nearly enough (in general), never mind trying to get a handle on all of the variation they show. As far as I can tell, it's an adult - and a "gray morph" - but quite heavily marked for a "gray" bird. And as previously mentioned - a male.
So all told, I'm thinking it's a legit Gyrfalcon - just a rather Peregrine-looking Gyrfalcon. The overall colour, belly markings and underwing pattern all look quite good for Gyr. Thanks to the magic of digital photography, I present 44 photos below so you can decide for yourself --- or you could even put on your *expert* cap and leave a comment below shedding light on the ID!
It eventually flew east towards Fifty Point CA. Here's hoping it returns. It pooped several times, so seems to be feeding well!