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Old November 23rd, 2015, 01:55 PM
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squirl033 squirl033 is offline
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the "gray ghost"

the male northern harrier, also known as "the gray ghost", is much less often seen than the female... i've been told that females outnumber the male by as much as 4:1 in the general population, and that one male may service 3 or 4 nests during nesting season, which would make for some very busy boys! just providing food alone would be an all-day proposition! but they're lovely birds, and it's really fun to watch them hunt...



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Old November 23rd, 2015, 02:56 PM
Russ Russ is offline
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Re: the "gray ghost"

Rocky, nice images. They are beautiful. I recall seeing my 1st male, never knowing that it was so distinctly different than females. I can now tell females from juveniles (mostly) as well as the obvious males (gray, distinct black wing tips). I'll concur with your 4:1 estimate on females:males. We see them (3-5+) EVERY time at Nisqually NWR (except in summer when field & marsh cover is too thick) but only rarely (0-1/yr) a male. Unlike most other raptors that soar at higher levels, Harriers swoop VERY low over the fields using not only their acute sight but also the owl-like dished eye/ear area to capture subtle the sound of prey (rodents and small birds). They are identifiable by their head/face shape and rear rump patch.
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 04:10 PM
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squirl033 squirl033 is offline
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Re: the "gray ghost"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ View Post
Rocky, nice images. They are beautiful. I recall seeing my 1st male, never knowing that it was so distinctly different than females. I can now tell females from juveniles (mostly) as well as the obvious males (gray, distinct black wing tips). I'll concur with your 4:1 estimate on females:males. We see them (3-5+) EVERY time at Nisqually NWR (except in summer when field & marsh cover is too thick) but only rarely (0-1/yr) a male. Unlike most other raptors that soar at higher levels, Harriers swoop VERY low over the fields using not only their acute sight but also the owl-like dished eye/ear area to capture subtle the sound of prey (rodents and small birds). They are identifiable by their head/face shape and rear rump patch.
thanks, Russ! i love watching them glide by just a few feet above the tops of the grass, wings hardly moving, heads down, watching for movement, then wheeling and diving for prey... nature at its best! they're pretty rare in summer this side of the mountains, but i've seen males up at Leque Island just about every time i go up there in winter... not always close enough for a photo, but they're definitely in the area!
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"Out where the rivers like to run, I stand alone, and take back something worth remembering..."
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Old November 30th, 2015, 07:15 AM
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digital2006 digital2006 is offline
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Re: the "gray ghost"

They do look so graceful when they are gliding...great background in that 1st shot.
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Old November 30th, 2015, 08:10 AM
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jerrywb jerrywb is offline
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Re: the "gray ghost"

Number 1 really works for me and opens the window on why man wanted fly.
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