I drove down Rangeland Road outside Ramona 2 weeks ago and spotted this distant falcon on a rock. I had only binoculars and camera, not spotting scope. So, though I wanted it to be a Prairie Falcon--because I hadn't yet recorded it in the county--I couldn't immediately eliminate Peregrine Falcon.
While wishing doesn't make it so, desire does play into bird identification if one is not careful about poorly seen birds. Not wanting to make a mistake, I took several photos, moving the car to get different views and backgrounds.
When the bird flew it was pale brown with the dark wing-pits of Prairie Falcon--or so I convinced myself--but I waited until returning home to review the photos, before deciding for sure. It was just so far away. I just couldn't tell the exact shape of the cheek mark that would clinch the ID.
|Prairie Falcon. Ramona, Oregon. November 28, 2014. Greg Gillson.|
This was my San Diego County Life Bird #269 and County Year Bird #259.