Date: 2/15/17 11:14 am
From: <dmarc-noreply...> (Redacted sender drbirdie for DMARC)
Subject: [texbirds] Roberts County Rough-legs - at least 3 remain as of last weekend - photos of these and some other cool birds and other critters
Hi Texbirders,
I was finally able to visit the area of the eastern Panhandle between Pampa and Miami (pronounced "My-amuh" by the locals) where Justin Bosler found 22 Rough-legged Hawks in early December 2016. During a day and a half of extensive searching, I was able to find "only" 3 Rough-legs, a light-morph adult, a darker bird that I still think is a light-morph, and a beautiful adult male dark-morph that was so black that I thought he was a raven when I first spied him perched on a fencepost. Remarkably, I was able to photograph all 3 birds (and 1 other Rough-leg that I found in Swisher County on the way up). I have posted photos of these birds (and a few others) in a Flickr album here:

<https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedrbirdie/albums/72157678791256800/with/32784699761/>


The dark-morph male was the real prize I had hoped for, but my photos of that bird are not that great.
This photo, though, does give a glimpse of the neat black-and-white banding on the tail:


<https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedrbirdie/32868087156/in/dateposted-public/>


This photo gives an idea of how black the bird is:


<https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedrbirdie/32865879186/in/dateposted-public/>


This light-morph bird (an adult male, I believe) gave me the best show:


<https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedrbirdie/32063707314/in/dateposted-public/>


This third RLHA looks a lot like the other light-morph, but really is different, and was photographed in a different location, along the Miami Mail Route Rd.
It was in Roberts County, but I wonder if it was the same bird reported a week or so earlier by David Sarkozi in Gray County along the same road?
I think it is a heavily-marked light morph adult, but I could be mistaken.


<https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedrbirdie/32093713083/in/dateposted-public/>


This is a very similar-looking bird that I photographed Saturday morning in Swisher County southeast of Happy, the Town without a Frown:


<https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedrbirdie/32066376884/in/dateposted-public/>


My favorite photo was of this adult female Northern Harrier in Swisher County not far from where I found the RLHA:


<https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedrbirdie/32468220820/in/dateposted-public/>


I also had 1 adult Golden Eagle near Miami in Roberts County. I will add this photo to the album later, but it was characteristically (for me at least) taken at a great distance.


I also had the good fortune to find 2 adult Ferruginous Hawks, the Regal Buteo, 1 in Roberts County just north of the Gray County line, and 1 in the town of Tulia, in Swisher County.


Roberts County FEHA:


<https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedrbirdie/32526122620/in/dateposted-public/>


and the bird in Tulia, which flew almost directly over me on the northeast side of town:


<https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedrbirdie/32782376321/in/dateposted-public/>


Other highlights which I haven't added to the album yet included a large mule deer buck and a huge white-tail buck in Roberts County (photos later), a Wilson's Phalarope (!) at or near Skeen Playa in Lynn County on Sunday Feb 12, 5 Western Bluebirds north of Mertzon in Irion County on Sunday afternoon (photos later), pretty good sparrow action in and around Mertzon, and Cinnamon Teal in multiple locations, including 12 in one group at Concho Springs in Eden, Concho County.


The weather was unbelievably warm for most of the trip. My car's thermometer registered 93 degrees on Friday afternoon northeast of Pampa and 86 degrees the following day. My cousin in Tulia grilled steaks outside on a pleasant spring-like evening Saturday. Then the front came through Saturday night and the wind was blowing most of the day Sunday at near-gale-force.


So, I didn't hit the Rough-leg jackpot quite like Justin did in early December, but 4 Rough-legs in 2 days in two counties in Texas is still pretty sweet.


Good birding ya'll,
Byron "Doc" Stone, Austin
























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