So there we were Saturday morning, happily cruising along a Haskell County road when perched atop a double utility pole was a hawk-like shape:
“Stop the car!” “That’s not a Red-tail!” Screech! Everyone grabs their bins and sees:
“Oh, Wow!” We gotta get the scope on this one!”
A Prairie Falcon! A life bird for Dan and only the third sighting for me! Looks sorta like a Peregrine, doesn’t it? But the sandy-brown color and that area of dark on its flanks (sides) along with the white behind the eye is diagnostic. We take a few minutes to admire this little (16″) falcon of open grasslands and quickly get our cameras on it. Heidi’s digiscoped image wins hands down against my itty-bitty 400mm zoom lens. Before our admiration expires, however, it takes off and flies farther away from us, leaving us too soon.
“What a great find!” “This will be the birding highlight of our trip!” But what we saw next redefined highlight:
We watched with our mouths open as thousands and thousands of geese settled on top of a local lake. Every geese that came in for a landing had to announce that he was about to land so make room! By the time they all landed, Dan shot some great video and there was a little empty patch of blue water left.
Yes! We are planning another field trip to this area to give all a chance to see this marvel of nature. Watch for upcoming announcements. To view what other species of birds we saw, please see our November 1, 2008 list.