Northern Harrier

I went to Goose Lake Prairie today, and I will have more to say about it in a future post. But I want to devote this space to a female Northern Harrier who was willing to show off long enough for me to get my camera to cooperate.

I had been walking around on the trails for nearly two hours and was waiting for the visitor’s center to open; I thought I had seen pretty much all I was going to see, when I flushed a Northern Harrier from the grass near the path. It was a juvenile.

Juvenile Northern Harrrier

I watched it fly around and shot a few pictures. At one point there were two harriers in the air, but my pictures were fuzzy and I didn’t think much of them, so I kept walking. I began to hear a lot of Henslow’s Sparrows I could not see. And then, a Harrier came back to distract me.

She had a kill, which looks to be a bird but I cannot identify it.

She swooped and darted and called. I now think she was displaying probably for junior’s benefit and not mine, but I was an inadvertent witness.

What a beautiful bird she was. I felt so lucky to see the show.

Harriers are always exciting to see as they fly low over open fields and they have distinctive markings. That white band on the rump is diagnostic.

Eventually she came to rest on a stump. I took one more picture and thanked her for making my day with her regal beauty.

More about Goose Lake Prairie to follow later this week.

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