Thurston Co gyrfalcon

Brian Pendleton (Expedia) brianpen at
Sun Mar 24 16:35:30 PST 2002

Present in the snag at 1:30. At about 1:45 it flew west to the river and we didn't see it again during the 20 minutes or so we remained in the area. We did see a pair of harriers harrying over a little marsh/wet meadow near the end of Goodrich road, landing on the ground several times in different spots around the wet area. Near the end of Meadows road we saw two red-tails, one of them dark phase, and a kestrel. The gyr was my first, and the highlight of our outing - even from Meadows road we could pick out the barring on the upper back, the dark cheek patch, the greenish-yellow feet proportionally smaller than a peregrine's, and the unmistakeable falcon shape. The breast and belly appeared streaked with gray/brown, the flanks barred. Until it flew we couldn't tell if it was significantly larger than a peregrine, but once in flight the wingbeats were noticeably slower and stiffer, indicating the size difference and confirming the identification for me.
Thanks, Tweeters, for the reports and directions. What a treat!
Brian Pendleton
Auburn, WA
brianpen at

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