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Nisqually NWR

The Day of the Raptor

We’ve had three consecutive days of sunshine here in the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve been enjoying them tremendously. However, sunshine in the winter also means cold weather, and it was bitterly cold at Nisqually today, much harsher than I’d suspected.

I probably should have expected as much when I was greeted by this Northern Harrier when I got out of the car.

Norhtern Harrier on Ground

But I was surprised when I realized that all the ponds were frozen and most of the ducks I saw last week were nowhere in sight, probably a good thing since raptors seemed to be everywhere today.

I’ve seen a lot of harriers at Nisqually, but I’ve never seen a Peregrine Falcon before, and I doubt I would have realized what it was if the refuge personnel hadn’t pointed it out to me.

Peregrine Falcon in tree

I’m glad that gaze was fixated on the ducks in the pond in front of us and not on me.

However, when this immature Bald Eagle landed on a tree right above me as I was walking along, I began to wonder if I wasn’t also on the menu for today.

immature Bald Eagle

It’s hard not to feel sorry for the ducks hunkered down on a small island in the middle of a frozen lake with hunters blasting away to the south and north while raptors fly overhead.

Ducks Huddled Together