Sunday, November 13, 2016

Harrier: One That Harries: To Make a Destructive Raid

I know there seems to be a theme to my posts of late.  Sorry about that, but I thought this was cool.  While driving through Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Texas this week I saw 7 Northern Harriers hunting low over the fields in the 34,000 acre "park'"(?).  Beautiful hawks that are so hard to photograph.

Females are brown and streaky
Males are pale and gray
I tracked one that was flying parallel to the dirt road I was on, racing ahead and stopping to get in position for a decent shot.  It was not a one time thing.  I must have used this strategy 5-6 times before I finally spaced it out and stopped well ahead of her to get a decent sequence.

Juveniles are more buffy on the breast with fewer streaks
She flew low behind the tall grass seeming to eye something.  (Love the splayed tail feathers)

That white rump is a sure sign you are watching a Harrier
When she popped out the other side I saw she had something in her talons.

As she banked off to the left I got a better view of what turned out to be a frog clutched to her body in one foot.

Harriers eat on the ground so I was excited to see the catch.
I have seen a Harrier feed on the ground before (Paul Rushing Park and it was my first ever Harrier to see last February), but this was my first to see a capture.  

So now I have a Peregrine Falcon, Great Blue-Heron, Crested Caracara, and a Northern Harrier doing what they do - they don't have an HEB or Kroger for birds so it is what it is.  Seems like I have started a new list.  Like I needed a new one.  Here are a few more shots I took this week around Texas.

Monarch migration. Laredo, TX
American Alligator. Anahuac, TX
Honey Bees.  Rosenburg, TX
Spider web in dew.  Tomball, TX
Bullfrog. Long Point, TX
Thanks for hanging into the end.