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Sunday, March 29, 2015


At the end of the day, I looked back to see this beautiful male harrier perched in the grassland on Bodega Head:

The photo above was actually one of my last pictures.  When I'm reviewing pictures, if I think the best ones were taken last, sometimes I start with the final image and then step through them in reverse.  This turned out to be a fun process for these harrier pictures today one that I'll share with you.

The harrier had just caught something and was starting to eat it.  I was too far away to identify the prey, but I decided to take pictures anyway.  

Here's the next picture I encountered:

Hmmm...was it eating a snake?

On to the previous image in the series, and another clue:

Hmmm...at the harrier's feet you can see the prey's head, but is it a snake?

Rewind to clue number three (this one will give it away):

Aha!  Legs!  Not a snake!  A lizard!

The harrier used its bill and feet to manipulate the lizard.  In the next image, he is picking up the lizard with his talons.  (Click on the image for a larger version.)

[It's likely this was an alligator lizard.  For an example, review the post from 10 April 2014.]

Harriers are known for having a broad diet, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. 

Although their prey might not feel the same way, I'm so glad to be seeing harriers again on Bodega Head.  For a while, it seemed like sightings of them had become uncommon.

1 comment:

Claudia said...

Interesting about the alligator lizard. I've noticed that they are abruptly "out." I've seen a juvenile hanging around the house and several roadkills on my dog walks in the neighborhood.