[Tweeters] Golden Eagle at Emerald Downs

Mark Vernon ma_vern at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 13 16:23:50 PST 2008

I feel like I am going out on a limb here, but my views were too good. Alas I didn't bring a camera or I could have had some nice shots.
Today I walked from downtown Auburn to the Interurban Trail and north to the Emerald Downs area. Water from Mill Creek has flooded the road leading to M Street so I couldn't walk around to the west side of the flooded field. This is the flooded filed just west of Emerald Downs. Walking back south I noticed that something had scattered a huge flock of Cackling Geese. I saw a huge raptor perched on a telephone pole right next to the paved Trail I was on. Some Crows were preparing to mob this bird.
At first I assumed this bird was a dark morphed Hawk, though it was very large. It actually let me walk below it. I was impressed by the blackness of it's throat, which came to an end right under the beak. The browness of the head was also very dark. The yellow of the beak was in two parts, not all yellow like a Bald Eagle. It seemed at the time larger than a Hawk's beak. I walked further south to get a better look at the Geese and Ducks assembled on the flooded field. The Raptor took to flight again and scattered the Cackling Geese and American Wigeons. It's wingspread was that of an Eagle. Then I saw the best marker the white on the tail with a thick black border on the tip. It flew in big cricles over the field. I went to the Kent Library to get a field guide off the shelf to look it up, and am typing this up there at this moment.
Other goodies appeared. The was at least one Eurasian Wigeon with all of the other Wigeons. A Northern Shrike was perched on a wire along the section of the trail further south of Emerald Downs. I also found 5 Western Scrub Jays near the same spot.
I have done my best describing this raptor, hopefully someone else will be able to find it. Please forgive my less than precise descriptions!I have to admit that I am not used to seeing this bird here in the Kent Valley. It is certainly not a Harlan's Hawk or Rough-legged Hawk.

Mark Vernon
Renton, WA
mailto ma_vern at yahoo.com

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