Sunday, February 17, 2013

Finding the Ferruginous...Fantastic Feeling

This morning I followed up on Cynthia Hudson detailed account on area (and behavior also) of a Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) near the former paper mill (Smurfit Stone) west of Missoula, MT. I estimate this is the fifth try for finding this bird; following through/ignoring-the-resistance because of advice from Do the Work by Steven Pressfield.
In transit found: American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) [Blue Mountain and Mocassin Road] and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) at Kona and Mullan Roads. Rough-legged (Buteo lagopus) and Red-tailed (Buteo jamaicensis) were obvious on the numerous power pole in vicinity of the mill, though most birds were at least 50 yards off the highway/pull-off. Found a pull-off on the north side of Pulp Mill road after crossing over railway tracks. Set up scope and found bird within fifteen minutes of arrival. It was perched about 250 yards away in a willow, with a stick nest, very close to rail tracks. Watched it hunt from a distance, diagnostic field marks seen well (white breasted, three points of white [base of tail and primaries], red coverts). Wow, magnificent, not all about checking off list. Watched for about an hour from different vantage points, never got close enough for better photo/look.
Took long way home in hopes of finding Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedorum). No luck, but did find a Merlin (Falco columbarius) that hunts waxwings; that's coming close isn't it :-)
Ferruginous Hawk at a distance

Prairie Falcon

Rough-legged Hawk