Friday, February 25, 2011

Winter Raptors in Centre County

This evening Drew Weber, Nate Fronk, Jerod Skebo, Josh Lefever, and I staked out the Rockview fields near State College, PA for a Short-eared Owl that was reported twice yesterday. Josh, Jared, and I started birding around 4:30 to get good looks at winter raptor flight patterns. As soon as we got to the fields, we observed many Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers, and Turkey Vultures. At one time, Drew had four dark-morph rough-legs. It was incredible. We also had a Merlin perch in the wooded edge of the field for a few minutes and provided great looks. Songbird species observed included many American Tree Sparrows, a few Song Sparrows, and a flyover flock of about 15 American Robins. We ended up seeing the Short-eared Owl around 6:15 between 30 and 50 yards away. It was a lifer for Jerod, Josh, and I. Here are some photos of a few winter raptors. Unfortunately I could not get a photo of the Short-eared Owl.

dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk

female Northern Harrier

light-morph Rough-legged Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk


  1. Sounds like a great birding experience. Enjoyed the photos, especially the harrier!