After all day snow yesterday, this morning was clear and bright and cold, -22°C to be exact. It warmed up to a balmy -19°C though, with no wind chill, so I took the opportunity to zip into Ontario to look for the white Gyr Falcons that had been in the Lafleche Tip area.
The road down to the tip was active with heavy trucks driven by both sorts of truck driver. Those that can, and the morons who can’t and who should never have been given a licence in the first place. Fortunately there is a broad pull-off zone and so the chances of getting wiped out by one of the morons is only around 40%, acceptable for a Gyr I’d say.
There were plenty of birds present so I switched to the scope and was able to pick out both Iceland and Glaucous Gull in the modest group above the tip. Perceived wisdom is that when the Starlings panic, the falcon flies, although I can see a Gyr showing much interest in a hors d’oeuvres when a main course is on offer. I went back to the bins, did a scan and there it was, sat on a utility pole, magnificent.
A Gyr is a big bird and they can take Canada Geese as prey, also small Italian cars, Nuns and Hang Gliders, that is mean. This one just sat for a bit, then launched into the air, cue the crazy Starlings. All it did was flit from one post to another but it was enough to put everything up, possible everything in Prescott-Russell county. Despite the cold I kept an eye on it and took a few record shots in which the pole comes out well. Then up it went and got stuck into the gulls. It isolated a large white-winged gull, probably one of the Glaucous Gulls, and simply took it out, then it went down into the tip, presumably to eat it, I expect Glaucous Gulls taste just like the ones mother used to bring when it was young.
Feeling like I was in the early stages of hypothermia, I went for a drive, saw a Snowy Owl and got warm. Heading back another two birders had arrived and we had a twenty minute wait until the beast returned to a post, that after it had offered a few teasing glimpses in the air. We collectively decided to go down and walk the field edge to get a bit nearer, it was fairly easy going but the Gyr always seemed a long way away. A few more record shots ensued and we pulled out to leave it in peace.
I think this was the eleventh Gyr I’ve seen and the thrill never wanes. This was my first white morph in Canada and completed the set although I still want to get better photos, one day maybe.
Here are the lousy record shots.