Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hawk Ridge and Duluth

I visited Hawk Ridge on 11/2 with one goal in mind; photographing a Northern Goshawk. When we arrived at 930am, there were Rough-legged Hawks and Bald Eagles already moving. A nice start. After an hour or so, a very pale Red-tailed Hawk soared right over us, in view for long enough to study the field marks, take pictures, and conclude we had just seen a Krider's Red-tailed fly by. In talking with the official counters, it sounds like maybe 1-2 are seen every fall. This was my first Krider's ever! While the Krider's was still in sight, a Northern Goshawk also started heading our way. It never came close, but it did come close enough for a few distant, identifiable pictures.

Krider's Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Goshawk
We left before noon and ventured to Wisconsin Point for some gulling. When I was an undergrad at Northern Michigan University, I spent 4 years gulling in the harbors just about daily. It became an addiction. Lately, I haven't been able to get my fix as I've lived too far from good gulling locations. Now, with Wisconsin Point only 2.5 hours away, I will be going more frequently. On my last visit a couple weekends ago we had Thayer's, Great Black-backed, Sabine's, Herring and Ring-billed Gulls. I was hoping for Iceland Gull this trip, but no such luck. I did spot what I believe to be a 2nd cycle Thayer's, an age class I don't see many of. At some angles, the primaries looked lighter than others. Here they look pretty dark. If someone wanted to argue "intermediate" between Thayer's and Iceland for this gull, I wouldn't argue back. A beautiful gull, though!

2nd cycle Thayer's Gull

We also had a very snazzy Western Grebe on the Minnesota side of the line. This was a full-on Western with no signs of intermediate or hybrid characteristics and one of the nicer ones I've seen on the Great Lakes.

 I still am managing to find new photo birds, one by one.

Next weekend, I may target Ring-necked Pheasant or Great Gray Owl. Stay tuned!

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