There are two types of birds that tend to drive me crazy when trying to classify them. Eventually I can get through to the waterfowl, but the family of Accipitridae and Falconidae have way to many similarly colored birds. Adding even greater difficult to identification is color changes that can occur from juvenile to adult. As a result, when it comes to classifying some of the hawks and falcons I open the reference books with a slight sense of dread. That was exactly the case when it came to finally posting this blog. While traveling out to Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park to check up on the wolves, I spotted this bird hunting in the prairie fields.
Of course, spotting it was one thing, trying to actually get a decent shot of it was a struggle. The Beast was on high speed continuous mode allowing for burst of shots once the bird came into frame. It would glide for a short while towards me over a stretch of the field, but would then perform an amazing aerial maneuver to double back on itself. Once his range was extended, it would start gliding back towards me again. This was repeated until it eventually made it out of the range for the Beast. Unfortunately, there were only a few decent shots out of the whole shoot worth showing anyone. The one above is clearly the best, but here a few more that provide a decent view of the coloring to help in identification.
Hit the jump to read my attempt at classifying it