Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prairie Falcon on Rangeland Road, Ramona

Prairie Falcon

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
Prairie Falcon. Ramona, Oregon. November 28, 2014. Greg Gillson.
Prairie Falcon is certainly not rare in San Diego County, but not as common as I would have thought. But this location, adjoining the Ramona Grasslands Preserve, is a favored spot.

This was my San Diego County Life Bird #269 and County Year Bird #259.

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