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Apologize for the late report.

Wednesday @ noon, myself and Dan Renaud had what we strongly believe was a light phase gyr passing over a meadow on the north slope of Brigham Hill. The bird appeared from out of nowhere and soared above us for approximately one minute before flapping south. We were tobogganing with the kids so we didn't have binocs for a beyond-a-doubt ID.

What we did see:
At first glance when the bird appeared, I thought light-morph roughie based on general size, shape and color. Moments later, the lack of diagnostic rough-legged field marks and over-all different gestalt of this bird in flight garnered our full attention.  We had good light on the bird and it circled over us a few times . Enough to make out a very long tail, super-heavy body and tapered wings. All very muscular - not at all lanky. Kinda like a falcon ate a buteo. Dark streaking in the underwing coverts created a two-tone look against what was otherwise very white beneath from our un-aided view.

Having experienced these birds in the field before, I was reminded how deceptively slow and heavy the wing beats appear and how at odds they seem with how fast the bird actually travels when it decides to cover ground.

So keep your eyes peeled in the Champlain Valley. And I'll buy pizza for whoever gets that 5 falcon day in VT first this winter!

-Rick