Friday, April 23, 2010

Peregrine In Phippsburg

Two days ago, I was "Weeding For Dollars" at Alliquippa here in The Burg when this Peregrine falcon zipped over my head. As I was bent over pullling dandelions and the like, looking like a Bend-Over-Betty lawn ornamnet, it was a miracle that I saw it. I think I must have birding eyes in the back of my head. Formerly, they were Mom eyes used to catch my children at something they should not have been doing at any given moment. Now, I've cross referenced my skill set to birding. It was even more of a miracle that I got off some shots of it, photographically speaking. I used to be a sniper for the Presidential  Secret Service. Now, I only aim to kill with a camera. Ya. Okay. Maybe I should stand up more often so that the blood rushes back to my limbs and a little oxygen gets to my brain.Posted by Picasa

19 comments:

  1. Looks like a Sharp-Shinned Hawk to me -- horizontal reddish barring on breast, squared-off barred tail, smallish head, and rounded wings. Peregrine would have pointed wings, clearer breast, and a dark "helmet" or mustache marks (this varies with the subspecies, I think). Peregrines also often have a light ring around the eye that (to me) is distinctive. A young peregrine would have heavy streaking (not barring) on the underparts. You've gotten great shots of a great bird, though! It's always exciting to have a close encounter with a raptor.

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  2. Eagle-eyed Robin was weeding for bucks at my place when I drove up the driveway (a few hours after she published this column); she didn't notice. I parked the car in the garage and walked to the house; she didn't notice. I stepped out onto the patio to say hello; she didn't notice. When I said hello, she almost jumped out of her shoes. So I don't know how she spots all these exotic birds; the biggest, fattest bird in the world drives up the road right by her and she didn't notice. What a bird brain!

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  3. Okay, okay. SO back to my need for oxygen: Overwhelming response to this has been that it's an accipter, not a falcon. DUh. Probably a Coopers though it could be a Sharp-shinned. One vote for Goshawk and one for Northern Harrier. I'm sure it was not a harrier, but then, what the hell do I know, obviously. And according to Ted, it could have been a bear, could have bitten me and I would not have noticed.

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  4. Between Robin's blog entry and Ted's comments...TOO FUNNY!
    HG

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  5. there is no need to apologize for anything!We are all jealous.I visited your blog this week and the photos are totally great. So take your head out from under your wing.So, I guess it was not a Northern Harrier, since I was the only one who suggested that. I'm going to look at your photo again if I can find it.Carol, Delorme 16 ; - )

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  6. Terrific shots-have no thoughts-too deep for a Friday... Sharon in West K.

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  7. Very nice photos, Robin; but I would call that a Cooper's, not a Peregrine - note the orange barring underneath, Peregrine would be barred with black; facial pattern, Peregrine would have a bold black helmet; tail, Peregrine's would be finely barred rather than broadly striped; and wings, rather too rounded for a falcon. I always enjoy your photos, whether or not you get the i.d. right the first time, and I always enjoy your writing, especially your sense of humor - keep it up.
    Jay Pendleton, Camden

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  8. I can't resist quoting Frances McDormand in "Fargo" who said to her partner "Can't say as I think too much of your police work there Lou." But, as usual, your prowess with a camera, coming out of a lawn ornament position, remains as formidable as ever.

    That Peregrine looks like a Sharpie to me. Rounded wings w/ long tail says "Accipiter". Sharp corners on the tail end, combined with smallish head shouts "SHARPIE". Had the tail corners been rounded it might well have been a Coop's.

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  9. Sorry, Robin, but that's an accipiter--I'm guessing Cooper's hawk,though I still have a difficult time distinguishing from Sharpie.Notice the wider wingtips with little fingers--peregrine wings arepointier and more narrow overall, the lack of facial "moustache," thewell-defined tail bars with the white terminal band, and the red bellystreaking as opposed to the falcon's brown streaks. Nice shots! Kristen

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  10. Looks more like a Cooper’s to me.

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  11. Well I hate to be the one to dash anybody's confidence, but this bird is an Accipiter not a falcon; it's either Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk. Those two can be a tough call, but with big head (especially in the second shot) I'd go with Cooper's. And don't let that dash your confidence, just think of it as a learning opportunity

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  12. Should have asked hawk-guy first ! Just kidding. Hope all is well in the Burg.

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  13. Pretty sure you'll see a very similar bird on my puzzlebird page this month (http://www.fetchingbirds.com/puzzlebird.html). Check with your Sibley's or other guide, but it's my impression that all immature accipiters have yellow to orange eyes, and all the adult accipiters have red eyes, and your hawk's eyes definitely look yellowish in the lower photo and too dark to tell in the upper. You might have other pics you could check against. So my first call is an immature accipter based on the yellow eye. Then look at the reddish breast feathers and only the immature Sharpie has reddish barred breast feathers like the adult accipiters. So my call is immature Sharp-shinned Hawk. Hard to gauge size from your pics, but I'm guessing since you thought it might be a Peregrine then it was probably bigger so maybe female, male sharpies aren't even a foot long.


    If I'm wrong about the eye-color then it could be an adult Coop. Below's an immature Coop, note the breast feathers are fine brown streaks, not the red barring of an adult.


    Best
    Phillip

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  14. Thanks much Jay. That compliment almost takes the sting out of being hopeless as a birder!

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  15. I expect that you are probably using the word "hopeless" at least partly, if not entirely, tongue-in-cheek, Robin, but don't be too hard on yourself. How often do you miss the i.d.? Not really very often, right? I see it as taking courage to put your proposed i.d. "out there" on the list potentially to get shot down! And by the way, I'm not really as expert as my comments may have made me sound; I still have some significant gaps, or weak places, in my i.d. skills. So again thanks for both your photos and your writing, and please keep them both up. JP

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  16. Hello all and thank you for responding to my bogus Peregrine photos. I knew it was a Sharp-shinned Cooper's Goshawk Harrier all along, but I was testing you. I do appreciate the time you took to respond and your compliments about the photographs. I have put all of the responses into the following so you could see how it all came out. Someone kindly said they hoped i would find it educational and wouldn't find it confidence dashing. Oh, no. Not at all. Geez, did that sound sarcarstic? After all, I'm into birding for the glory. Isn't that what it's all about? Huh? Glory? I was sure that birding was about the glory! I think I'll go back to watching previous season episodes of "THe Biggest Loser." Or, maybe I'll just change my name.
    Robin Robinson
    Currently in witness protection in The Burg (that's Phippsburg, Map 6)

    "Looks like a Goshawk to me."

    "That Peregrine looks like a Sharpie to me. Rounded wings w/ long tail says "Accipiter". Sharp corners on the tail end, combined with smallish head shouts "SHARPIE". Had the tail corners been rounded it might well have been a Coop's. "


    "Hi Robin,
    Nice Cooper's Hawk."

    "Sorry Robin, definitely not a Peregrine. Peregrine would have very
    pointed wings and is marked very differently underneath. It is an adult
    accipitor, probably a Cooper's. The leading edge of the wing is
    straight and held perpendicular to the body, not pushed forward like a
    Sharpie, and head appears large. At first look the tip of the tail
    looks straight, but on closer look the outer tail feathers are shorter
    than the center feathers (although this feature is not as reliable as
    people probably use it, as female Sharpies can have very rounded tails,
    according to Brian Wheeler, "Raptors of Eastern North America")."

    "I hate to have to tell you, but your Peregrine Falcon is actually an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk. Look at the rufous barring over its breast, belly and underwing coverts. In the upper photo, with a little imagination you can even see the red eye. An immature Peregrine would be heavily streaked (not barred) below with dark brown, and an adult Peregrine would have a whitish breast with black barring below that."

    "Looks like a Sharp-Shinned Hawk to me -- horizontal reddish barring on breast, squared-off barred tail, smallish head, and rounded wings. Peregrine would have pointed wings, clearer breast, and a dark "helmet" or mustache marks (this varies with the subspecies, I think). Peregrines also often have a light ring around the eye that (to me) is distinctive. A young peregrine would have heavy streaking (not barring) on the underparts. You've gotten great shots of a great bird, though! It's always exciting to have a close encounter with a raptor.


    "Looks more like a Cooper’s to me."

    "Is that a white patch over the rump? Like what I used to call a Marsh Hawk? Guess it's called a Northern Harrier now?"

    I'm not good at hawks at all, but that white patch was always a huge clue...

    Sorry, Robin, but that's an accipiter--I'm guessing Cooper's hawk,
    though I still have a difficult time distinguishing from Sharpie.
    Notice the wider wingtips with little fingers--peregrine wings are
    pointier and more narrow overall, the lack of facial "moustache," the
    well-defined tail bars with the white terminal band, and the red belly
    streaking as opposed to the falcon's brown streaks. Nice shots!

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  17. Condolences on the hawk ID. Anyone who says they haven't been in your shoes is lying or forgetful! Last summer was a nice snafu for me: mistaking young snowy's for young Great Egrets. There was a single pool with 2 GREGs and 3 - 4 SNEGs in it here on MDI. I assumed it was a "family," and proceeded to announce that to Maine Birds. Jerry Smith tactfully reminded me that young fledged GREGs would look young, but would nevertheless be the size of GREGs. Hmmm. Humble pie seems to be part of the contract.

    ck

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  18. I was late getting to the post and man, I'm sorry but I laughed my a^& off at your expense. Ya know, sometimes I post that something is what I think is 'something' and then I cringe - almost sweat a little - hoping that I was right because of those vultures (which I will leave at the high level, because I'm not sure if they are Turkey or Black-Faced).

    I don't care if you're wrong or right.

    Renee

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  19. Just looked at the site... cool shots of those Osprey. I think your Peregrine is a Sharpie or a Cooper's Hawk though. No mustache, red banding and it has a red eye. Looks more Accipiter than Falcon to me...

    Sorry :(

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