Female Northern Harrier in flight

Female Northern Harrier in flightFemale Northern Harrier in flight – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/4000, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Typically I see far more Northern Harriers in the winter here in Utah than I do during the breeding season which might be partly due to the harriers preferring to nest within marshy wetland areas which are in abundance around the Great Salt Lake. In fact; many people still call Northern Harriers by the name “Marsh Hawk”.

Last year I found a female Northern Harrier bringing nesting material to the nest which was the first time I had located a harrier nest.

The female above was photographed as she coursed along the Antelope Island causeway as she searched for prey last February.

Female Northern Harrier with the Wasatch Range in the backgroundFemale Northern Harrier with the Wasatch Range in the background – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/3200, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

This is the same female taken as she flew east with the snow-covered Wasatch Mountain Range in the background. The white rumps of Northern Harriers help to make the ID easier along with the owl-like facial disc.  Females are much browner than the males who are also known as the “Gray Ghost“.

I am always delighted to have opportunities to photograph Northern Harriers, especially when they are in flight and I am able to get some eye contact.

Mia

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