Sunday, February 21, 2016

Peregrine (??) at the Condo (%)

The "falcon" returned the following morning - and was eating a freakin GULL (of all things) on the NE corner of the nearby building...

I've boiled down the responses I've received from my last post/photos (thanks to everyone who commented)... The summary is "It's a Peregrine, you idiot"...

I can't disagree that I was wrong for barking up the Gyrfalcon tree... It's not right. But I continue to have some issue with the thought that this is a "normal" Peregrine. Seeing it the following morning, I still didn't look and think "Peregrine"... While everyone makes mistakes, I do like to think I'm pretty good with Peregrines - and given that this is my ~65th Peregrine sighting since moving to the condo in late 2012...

Anyways, here's the new series of photos from day 2 (haven't seen it since)..

It's really big

It's an odd gray/brown colour

the breast/belly streaking is odd

the helmet pattern is mostly "moustache stripes"

has odd pale markings on the top of its head

wings seem abnormally long and thin (??)

I pulled out a few more images from day 1 (cell phone + scope) - but they don't add a whole lot:

So in the end, I am horribly outnumbered in the "not a normal Peregrine camp" - so i'll probably just let this one fade away... Just one last time (unless it returns) I'll say "No - not a Gyrfalcon, but maybe not a "normal" Peregrine?"

As always, comments appreciated. Be sure to watch this video on full screen/youtube for a better impression of how it looked. (Same video as the top). 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Gyrfalcon (?) at the condo (!)

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!