The Gyrfalcon is the largest falcon and is normally a tundra bird. It is slightly larger than a Red-tailed Hawk. It is the national bird of Iceland.
This bird was first seen in Hadley in mid-December and has launched a major quest among birders to come see the "Gray Ghost." Good local photographs were nonexistent when it was first reported. I photographed this bird on January 2, 2013 at the Honey Pot in Hadley. But it was quite far away and so the bird occupies only a small fraction of the frame.
A month later I got lucky. I was driving along Aqua Vitae Rd. about 10 a.m., and saw Dave McLain (who has the best Hadley Gyrfalcon photos) who pointed out the bird. It was first perched in a tree near the river, then flew to a perch in a tall oak tree on the west end of the meadows at Aqua Vitae. It remained there for about ten minutes, then departed north, perhaps for the Honey Pot. This time I was much closer and was pleased to get a few shots before it flew.
© Keith Carver Photography • Zen