2 January 2014

2014 starts off with a bang


A Gyrfalcon to the east of Onuma this afternoon. I waited over 5 hours for it to appear in what is one of the coldest bleakest places imaginable.

Actually it's not that bad but it is an exposed place and there was a raging blizzard most of the day and I was stuck in the car. I popped out for intervals but the cold always drove me back to the warmth of the car. There were no birds except the inevitable crows, gulls and kites. Several other birders were around telling us that it had showed well yesterday but had not been sighted today, possibly due to the nasty weather.

I was just about ready to give up but my wife was comfortable taking a nap under 2 down jackets and asked for 10 more minutes. Then the falcon appeared.................

It sat on the snow about 40 meters or so from the car and flew off about 2 minutes later. I got out of the car but the wind was blowing directly into my face, it was very hard to keep the lens steady. The above shot is cropped and was the best I could manage. Hopefully I can go back on a calmer day.

Despite the blizzards the winter is late and mild. Onuma isn't fully frozen yet and ice free patches may remain all winter at this rate......................something I've never seen before. Ural Owl, Black Woodpecker and White Tailed Eagle were here but not much else.

So not a bad start to the year.............this has always been one of my dream birds to see.

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10 comments:

  1. Wow! Congratulations! Great start to the year. A bird I'd love to see. Worth the wait and great pic.

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  2. Congratulations. It's always especially wonderful to see a dream bird. It's a lovely close view too (relatively speaking, that is). I saw one cruising along high cliffs in Iceland, nowhere near as close as this, and was really excited I remember.

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    1. Would love to see one in Greenland, one of the pure white ones........

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  3. Fantastic bird! It has strange eyes for a bird.

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    1. My wife was saying pretty much the same thing.......

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  4. Definitely a brilliant start to the year Stuart. Five hours but worth the sitting around for that shot.

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    1. The place where it is is like Pilling in midwinter but colder, windier and no birds.

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  5. Brilliant bird..... what a start to 2014 !

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    1. Yes John it was one of my targets for the year.......

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