Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Specials: Raptor Style

Like many Black Friday shoppers, I left the house this morning before the sun was up. However, I was not heading to the local Walmart. I was looking for my own version of Black Friday specials in places far from any department store. I was hunting for raptors in the agricultural areas surrounding the small farming towns in the south end of Utah County, about one hour south of Salt Lake City.

While there weren't nearly as many specials as you'd find in a Walmart, I did find a few. I found my first-of-season BALD EAGLE--a beautiful adult--between the small towns of Goshen and Lakeshore. A gorgeous dark ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was found along Goshen Bay Road in a tree near an abandoned Golden Eagle nest.  Warm Springs WMA, between Santaquin and Goshen, presented a sleek male HARRIER catching then eating prey on a fence post along Hwy 6. RED-TAILED HAWKs were spread throughout Santaquin, Goshen, Elberta, and the south end of Utah Lake near the towns of Palmyra and Lakeshore. It was unusual for the area, but I did not see one accipiter this morning. Maybe I needed another set of eyes in the truck.

My favorite spot of the day was about two blocks south of the town or Elberta. I spotted one then two PRAIRIE MERLINs. One of the Merlins allowed me to capture a few decent images as it perched in a tree along the road. I watched it turn its head from left to right and then some more, nearly 360 degrees.

Prairie Merlin Near Elberta, UT (Photo by Jeff Cooper)

Prairie Merlin Near Elberta, UT (Photo by Jeff Cooper)
Prairie Merlin Near Elberta, UT (Photo by Jeff Cooper)


  1. Hahaha Jeff these photos made my day! I love your new blog.

    1. Thanks, Felicia. Your discovery of a Common Redpoll yesterday in Highland, UT while hanging your Christmas lights was exciting. Their irruption keeps pushing southward. I hope to get one or two at my yard feeders this winter.