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Oregon Raptor

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Saturday, February 11, 2023, horrible photos, so apologies in advance, but I thought it was worth a try to see if there is enough definition for a better soul than me to ID.

This was taken in the Brownsmead area east of Astoria, OR. It's mostly low lying pastures and sloughs, riparian areas moving up into some hills and pines, within a mile or two from the Columbia River.

I was snapping photos of a Red-breasted Sapsucker on a tall pine, turned back into the road to look at the big flock of European Starlings in the field across from me, when something flew within feet of my head, so close I heard the soft but solid "woomph" of wing beats, it was pretty incredible. The starlings went silent, the flock took to the air and then came back down with seconds, and I just snapped one shot of the raptor as it went further across the sky and back to the south.

There are all kinds of raptors out here, from Peregrine to Merlin to Kestrels, Rough-legged, Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's, and don't forget Northern Harriers and Bald Eagles. It was fairly small-medium-sized. I almost lost it in the flock of starlings.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!





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