This week’s photo, taken January 27, 2014 along a rural road south of the town of Snohomish, WA, features a GYRFALCON (pronounced JER-falcon). The world’s largest falcon breeds in the far northern regions of the Northern Hemisphere. During the winter, some migrate south, usually no farther than the northern states of the “Lower 48.”
To check off a new life bird, some people walk for miles up a mountain, trudge through mosquito-infested swamps or fight their way through brush so thick that their arms start bleeding. On Monday, I find my latest Lifer without much effort. I arrive at the road junction where the bird has been spotted, get out of my car and walk 25 feet to a tripod that is supporting a spotting scope that is aimed at the GYRFALCON. The friendly stranger (the guy with the scope, not the bird), immediately invites me to look at the falcon through his scope. He is decked out in a suit and tie (the guy, not the bird). I assume that he likes to dress up when he bird-watches, but he explains that he’s on his way to work.
When I’m closing in on my next life bird, I hope the well-dressed birder will be present (with his scope, of course). I prefer that the Gyrfalcon will not be there, since it might capture and eat my target bird before I arrive.