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Monday, March 16, 2009

The Last of the Skagit Photos - For Now

While my afternoon of birding last Friday was spectacular, I got a few more awesome photo ops on Saturday when I took the longer, scenic route back to the ferry landing before I headed back to Friday Harbor. Here are a couple of photos from that trip:

I've been interested in the eye (or iris) color of raptors recently, especially after all the raptors I saw in Skagit County as well as the time I've spent with the red-tailed hawks at the south end of San Juan Island. For many raptors, eyes are one color in juveniles and another in adults. For red-tails, the iris is yellow in juveniles - so the above bird must be young - and dark chocolately brown in adults. When I got a good look at Ruth RTH2 through a scope, she definitely had soft brown eyes, which makes sense because she appears to be a breeding adult.

Make sure to click on the bald eagle photo to see a larger version. I was especially intrigued by the wear at the tips of the tail feathers. There's also some light white mottling in the underside of the wings, so it's probably a fourth year bird who has one final molt before getting the crisp, clean looking adult plumage.

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