What about an adult male Northern Harrier -- would go with the
elongated body and upright posture, and they always look so different
when perched than how we are accustomed to seeing them in flight. You
were in a good place and at the right time of year to maybe see a
Gyrfalcon, but a Gyr is likely to impress you with it's powerful,
big-chested build. Just a thought...
Quoting Maeve Kim <[log in to unmask]>:
> I know that Gyrfalcons are extremely unusual in Vermont ? but I got
> two quick looks at a puzzling bird today, and Gyrfalcon was one of
> my thoughts. It was a bit north of the entrance to Button Bay State
> Park, on the other side of the road. First I saw a bird that looked
> oddly long and very white on the chest and belly, in a tree many
> yards back from the road. The bird sat with an upright posture and
> looked elongated rather than chunky (in other words, much more
> slender than the Sibley drawings of Gyrfalcons).
> By the time I found a place to pull over and got out my binoculars,
> the tree was empty. After a few minutes, I relocated the bird a bit
> further north and further back from the road. I went past it, turned
> around, pulled over again and watched the bird through binocs for
> about ten seconds before two cars coming fast convinced me to move
> again. Through the binoculars, the bird looked completely white
> underneath, with a white or light-colored tail and a mostly white
> head, with gray wings and back. There was no belly band. I thought I
> saw yellow feet but that might have been something on the branch.
> I first thought of a Peregrine, but the belly was completely white
> or very pale gray and there was no black or dark gray on the head.
> It was hard to get a good idea of size. Before I headed home, I
> parked again near the first tree it was in, compared the tree to
> others nearby, looked at relative length of branches, etc. and
> concluded that the bird was considerably longer from head to tail
> than a Peregrine.
> The coloring and size made me think of a Goshawk, but hunting in
> that much open space seems unlikely for that species ? and the long
> tail was light in color.
> I wondered about a white morph Red-Tail, but Sibley shows belly
> bands even on the white morphs. (The drawing of a Krider?s looks
> more like it, but that really shouldn?t be here.)
> Lots of list-serve members will probably be in the Champlain Valley
> over the next weeks. It would be great if someone else got a better
> look at ?my? hawk!
> Maeve Kim
> Jericho Center