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smittyone@cox.net last won the day on March 26 2020

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  1. I'm not smart enough to argue whether a Harlan's is a sub-species of Red-tailed Hawk, or just a color morph. All I know is that a dark-morph RTHA and a Harlan's RTHA look different from each other. Your statement above, confuses me though. Perhaps it's just the way it's worded. Are you agreeing that this is a Harlan's RTHA, and at the same time, implying that Harlan's are just a "different" dark morph RTHA than a typical dark-morph RTHA? I'm not trying to be argumentative--I genuinely don't understand what you are saying above.
  2. Seen today at Loess Bluffs NWR, in NW Missouri. The light streaking on this immature buteo's body, and splotchy markings on the wings, suggest to me that this is a Harlan's RTHA. But, I understand the leg feathers on a Harlan's extend farther down the leg (not RLHA length), than on Red-tailed Hawks. I see a lot of leg showing on this bird. I also think I see just a hint of dark trailing edge on the wing feathers, but this is a young bird, so... I've brought up the "Dark morph RTH vs Harlan's" here before, yet I still struggle with it. Am I concentrating on the little details and missing something obvious?
  3. Adding one more pic. Forgot I didn't include a frontal view.
  4. There are three very dark brown buteos consistently seen at Loess Bluffs NWR in NW Missouri lately. I've submitted two of them here for identification--both were ID'd as dark morph Harlan's RTHA. This is the third dark buteo, seen yesterday. Based on the lack of, what I call "white splotches or polka dots", I believe this bird is an immature dark morph Red-tailed Hawk, and not a Harlan's RTHA. Am I correct? I have plenty of shots from every angle, if additional pics are needed.
  5. Spotted this (taiga) Merlin yesterday afternoon in NW Missouri. Despite the blue sky background, the sun had gone behind a cloud resulting in underexposed pics. Even after brightening up in post processing, I'm not certain if the upper wing and tail feathers are slate gray or dark brown. Are those the only distinguishing features between a male and female Taiga Merlin?
  6. Seen late this afternoon in NW Missouri. Is this an immature Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk?
  7. The Bald Eagle link you provided is the best I've seen so far. Thank you very much Meghann. As a follow-up question, has anyone ever referred to young Bald Eagles as sub-adults? I don't think it's an officially recognized term, but I've used it on occasion, to describe immature Bald Eagles that show most of the visible features of an adult. I reserve it's use to 3 1/2+ year old birds with mostly white head and tail feathers.
  8. Someone already explained this to me a while back, but unfortunately it didn't stick (I forgot). I would call this an immature Bald Eagle, but have seen it also called a juvenile. I'm guilty of this myself. Both terms seem to be used interchangeably, but I know one is technically correct. Can someone please explain, in simple terms, what the difference is, which one would be (more) correct for this young eagle, and why? Maybe provide a couple of examples, so maybe the info will stick this time. Although this is still kind of an ID question, moderators, please move this post to a different section, if appropriate.
  9. I believe when these guys migrate through Loess Bluffs NWR, they generally are immature and/or in non-breeding plumage. That makes identifying them with any certainty a challenge. To add to that challenge, they're rarely close enough to capture decent images (in my case anyway).
  10. Photo taken late yesterday afternoon in NW Missouri. I think this eagle believed the branch it broke off was much bigger than it actually was. The original pic was underexposed and needed brightening in post.
  11. Here's the same bird a week later. Dry as a bone this time. Do we still think it's molting?
  12. Seen late yesterday afternoon at Loess Bluffs NWR in NW Missouri. Are these White-faced or Glossy Ibis? Although White-faced are more common there, both kinds have been seen (and verified) there before. Pics are heavily cropped.
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