Posted by: Debra LaValley | April 14, 2019

April 14, 2019

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Grey Ghost Encounter

Yesterday – I had something happen that has been on my wish list for many years – to get a good look and decent photo of a male Northern Harrier! The male is also referred to as a Grey Ghost (for its gray coloring, etc.). It is also a very elusive bird here in New Hampshire. I have only seen one male years ago and it caught me completely by surprise so I only managed a distant photo of its backside. When it passed me it did look at me (I think it laughed at me – lol)and the image has been seared into my brain.

Yesterday, I was at Horseshoe Pond in Concord – seeing if I could see any good ducks, a snow goose, osprey or an eagle. I was looking at the geese when I noticed a strange bird hovering and working the edge of the pond across from me. It didn’t take me long to hear my inside voice screaming “Grey Ghost!” It was about 3:00 pm, and I watched it work the pond.

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At one point, it landed on the shore and appeared to be eating something as the geese looked on. It took off after a while and flew to the north end of the pond. The photo below also shows the tell-tale white-rump patch of a Northern Harrier.

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To my amazement – the Grey Ghost flew right over my head! I was spinning around like a lunatic trying to get a shot in focus (wires and tree limbs were in the way). He was also flying too close for my huge lens. Luckily – he felt pity on me and circled back so I could get some decent shots. My favorite shot is the shot at the beginning of this post. If you want to see other photos – click my Flickr photostream link on the right of my blog.


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