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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Northern Harrier Hunting

I wish these pictures were better, but I'm amazed I caught what I did. I'm pretty sure these are a Northern Harrier, which used to be called the Marsh Hawk. Anyway, if so, it's Circus cyaneus.

northern harrier

I walked down to the river on Friday. Not much happening yet. On the way back I noticed a large bird flying low over an open field. I was on the edge, and had no idea what it was at that distance, but thought I'd try to catch it in the camera and maybe I could figure it out later.

northern harrier

It dropped down nearly to the ground and actually hovered for a moment. That's when I got the best picture.

northern harrier

Want to see that closer? Could be better, but it's not terrible.

northern harrier

A drop into the grass and then... Dinnertime!

Then s/he took off with cargo on board.

northern harrier

Even after I looked in my books, I was stumped for a while on the ID. I'm pretty familiar with seeing this hawk from below, soaring, but I've never seen it come in for a catch. I also think this one is immature- maybe last year's egg. That would account for the "cinnamon" belly.

Here are my reasons for saying Northern Harrier. 1- a conspicuous white rump. 2- the disk around the face that makes it almost look like an owl. 3- the white bars around the eyes.

See Used to Be the Marsh Hawk
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mike spain said...

Great close encounter with your feathered friend

Ann said...

Cool capture. I had no idea they could hover.
Before I started reading, when I was looking at that first picture I thought it was an owl

vanilla said...

I would still be fumbling for the camera, and you are apologizing? Great stuff!

Secondary Roads said...

Super! I watched "our" red-tail hawk do an [almost] similar move the other day. No camera at hand. No need to apologize for those fine shots.

Lin said...

WOW! That is quite the action shot!

RNSANE said...

Good job, Joan. I never can seem to capture birds in flight!

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