Subject: [Tweeters] No Gyrfalcon at Hayton Reserve, but maybe further down the road.
Date: Wed Nov 13 23:33:36 PST 2019
From: Peggy Mundy - peggy_busby at

Eric,Great photos.  I was there on Monday and saw that bird, but too far for a good photo.  When we arrived, someone pointed it out as the gyrfalcon, which seemed unlikely once I got a look at my photos.  Another person suggested the "tundra" subspecies of peregrine -- based on the white cheek.  So I am very curious to know what others think.  I did include my hideous photo in my eBird checklist (11/11/2019 Skagit Hayton Reserve) as an unidentified falcon, in hopes someone would recognize it.  I also saw a "traditional" peregrine, clearly not the same bird.
Peggy MundyBothell, WA
On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 10:27:59 p.m. PST, Eric Ellingson <abriteway at> wrote:

Not being familiar with Gryfalcon or the Hayton Reserve area I mostly took photos while listening to those around me debate about what we were seeing Peregrine or Gyrfalcon. A falcon was diving into a huge flock of Dunlin doing their amazing flight murmuration thing. It did manage to take one Dunlin down and carry it off while we were watching. The debate was about wing/tail length mostly of the falcons. But in addition, the falcon's mustache was quite fine and not much if any of a dark hood.  The consensus was a Peregrine of a lighter subspecies possibly.
Then leaving the area heading east toward I-5, a bit before the white church a large gray raptor type bird flew in front of us, across the road and staying low with fast wingbeats heading north away into the fields.  I mention this for others to keep an eye out for the Gyrfalcon in that area as well. It was getting too dark and too far away by the time we got binocs on it to get anything other than the giz of it.
Photos of the Peregrine are on my eBird posting for Hayton Reserve, 11/13. Shot from quite away but shows the rather fine/light markings good enough. Any thoughts on the possible subspecies/maturity of the Peregrine would be appreciated.
A bonus shot of a Merlin with an interesting pose:
Eric Ellingson
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