Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus
Waterloo County, ON
28 December 2013
The annual Linwood Christmas Bird Count is usually the highest, or close to the highest, for raptor concentrations on the continent. Among the species located in this area are Rough-legged Hawks, visiting from their high arctic nesting areas, to spend the winter here, in what must seem to them benign conditions, with abundant rodent prey.
This is a difficult species to photograph. It is very wary of humans, and flies at the slightest interaction with birders it perceives as being too close.
While the following pictures are hardly of superior quality, they do show a magnificent dark morph bird we located in a field. Dark morph plumage is very much in the minority of birds found here. You can clearly see the feathered tarsus, so common on birds from the far north.
The concentration of Rough-legged Hawks is one of the very special benefits of living in this area.
I might point out that this year there has been a heavy influx of Snowy Owls Bubo scandiaca also, and we (Fraser Gibson, Ken Quantz and I) started our day's count with nine Eastern Screech Owls Megascops asio.