Gyrfalcon near Grand Mound

Ruth Sullivan GODWIT at
Fri Mar 15 19:19:04 PST 2002

Hello Tweets,

Today my mother and I observed the gray-morph GYRFALCON in the general
previous location recently listed and reported by Roger Orness(multiple
dates),and Gary Wiles on the 13th of March, where the bird this afternoon
was observed from at least three vantage points west of Hwy.99(Harrison
Ave.on the Lewis Co. side)and from Meadows Rd.(accessed from Prather Rd.SW).
The bird is apparently in near adult plumage,but the mantle and head are
fairly darker brown overall(obviously paler than a dark-morph bird),but
shows some lighter tones of paler gray on the head and mantle, when viewed
in certain light conditions. The dark gray cross barring on the upperparts
was very distinctive and noticeable,as was the dark cheek patch. The white
underparts were relatively barred,but as in the upperparts very noticeable
at close range. We were able to get a closeness range within 15-20 yards of
the bird and we believe as Gary Wiles mentioned the bird is in transition
plumages,changing into adult plumage so the bird could possiblt be listed as
a subadult bird. During our visit from 3:30pm-5:15pm the bird was noted to
perch atop a partially dead Douglas Fir tree on private property,BUT viewed
from Meadows Rd. and other nearby access points and would occasionally fly
off then return to the same tree and was observed in both Thurston and Lewis
Cos. The bird was also harrassed by one pair of Northern Harriers while
perched atop two seperate trees during our visit as well, as there was some
interaction between the birds observed. It would be interesting to find out,
if possible if this Gyrfalcon was the same individual observed by Ken
Knittle on the 10th of January,2002 along the Frontage Rd. in Centralia in
Lewis Co., which is about 6-7 miles away from the current location,depending
on his plumage description of the bird.

Other species of note in the general vicinity during our visit included the
following,with special emphasis on raptors.

1 Double-crested Cormorant(flying along Chehalis River)
1 adult White-tailed Kite
4 Bald Eagles
6 Northern Harriers
9 Red-tailed Hawks
2 Am.Kestrels
1 Black Merlin
15-20 Tree Swallows
7+ Violet-green Swallows
2 Western Scrub Jays
2 Purple Finches

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan

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