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John,

I had dismissed that at first but am now wondering if it is a possibility?
It looked very much like the female Merlin  'Richarsonii' but had a wing
span of about 34" (I thought). It was a "ghostly" gray and the moustache
line faint but a downwad line (not a mask). I do remember the thin white
tail edge and the yellow on the beak, but somehow thought there was pale
streaking (reddish?) on the breast. Because of size, the moustache line and
no bird book with me I made the assumption first.  (I was taught better!) I
truly hope the slide will show what we need to see. We misidentified a
Sharp-shinned Hawk in Texas that I photographed  as a Merlin for some time
with the help of experts. It wasn't until a few weeks later, after Charlie
Clark thought about it a while,  that he called to our attention the pattern
of preying behaviour this bird continued to show. That determined the final
identification as a Sharp-shinned Hawk - mistaken for a time as a Merlin.
We have had a Merlin (juvie or female) here since last Nov. and this bird
appeared so much larger. I said there were 2 because after it took flight
into the sky it was joined by another bird. They had a stiff flap, flap flap
wingbeat and then glide (wings curved down), flap sequence and then glide,
etc.

I truly appreciate all the suggestions and help - raptors are a tough one
sometimes! I saw briefly another bird last night that was similar to a
Cooper's but have never seen one so dark. It is difficult on the best of
days but cloudy, dreary ones add a decided challenge!

With thanks,

Cat Foster
rural Flemington, Polk County, MO
[log in to unmask]
-----Original Message-----
From: John Besser <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Friday, April 18, 2003 6:53 PM
Subject: Re: Any Suggestions?


>Cat,
>
>How about a juvenile Peregrine?   According to Robbins and Easterla
>('Birds of Missouri'), migrant Peregrines are to be expected from March
>through mid-May, with the peak in late April.  (They say wintering
>Prairies may stick around until the end of March.)
>
>Although Peregrines are described as 'rare transients', they are
>definitely not as rare as they used to be (and perhaps less rare than
>they were when this book was published in 1992).  Some pairs have nested
>on buildings in large cities in recent years.
>
>John Besser
>Columbia MO
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: MO Wild Bird Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>Jack & Cathie
>Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2003 2:04 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: Any Suggestions?
>
>At this point I am going to retract the reported sighting until I can
>determine via the photos what exactly it was . . . . .
>
>Thanks for the help,
>Cat Foster
>cat89tlccenturytel.net
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Robert Fisher <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
>Date: Thursday, April 17, 2003 10:49 AM
>Subject: Re: Any Suggestions?
>
>
>Cat Foster asks:
>
>I had hoped for some comments on the Prairie Falcon. Are these common
>here?
>
>Prairie Falcons are rare, but regular, in appropriate open country
>habitats
>in Western Missouri in winter -- i.e. November to mid-March. To see one
>anywhere in Missouri in April seems very unusual to me.
>
>
>Bob Fisher
>Independence, Missouri
>[log in to unmask]
>
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