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There is a Eurasian species called a Marsh Harrier, the male of which has 
large triangular or trapezoidal pale gray shapes on its upper wings and 
similar bright pale shapes on its underwings. It would otherwise have the 
shape and behavior of a Northern Harrier.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fuller" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006 4:35 PM
Subject: Re: Is a Mississippi Kite possible?


> Dear Mobirders,
>
> Several good suggestions have been offered about yesterday's mystery bird. 
> We see male Northern Harriers almost every visit to Riverlands. (We saw a 
> male and female Northern Harrier this morning.) It has a quite different 
> look from the top. Unless it was a *very* oddly colored Harrier, it seems 
> unlikely. Bonaparte's Gull has some whitish around the front/outer section 
> of the wing, but the mystery bird had white "trapezoids" closer to the 
> body and a dark section (gray to black) at the "outboard" part of the 
> wing. (Which is why I flirted momentarily with Sabine's, but that passed.) 
> Also the body was darker and longer than a Bonaparte's.
>
> A Harrier is nearer the right body style for the mystery bird, but the 
> wingtop/body coloring is not close. The mystery bird had those white marks 
> and was missing the white rump. (It's hard to watch a Northern Harrier for 
> 10 minutes in a wide variety of flying postures and never see a white 
> rump. But that's perhaps just my experience or inexperience.)
>
> I'm still in the market for alternatives.
>
> I agree with the three responders that a Mississippi Kite is hard to 
> "swallow." I didn't see any dragonflies or grasshoppers around yesterday!
>
> As I mentioned this morning, the mystery bird dove twice at something in 
> the farm field. The "dives" appeared to be feet first. One time the dive 
> took it below the brush line; I don't know if it touched the ground or 
> not. The other time, it seemed to snatch something several feet above the 
> ground. Maybe it changed its mind, or maybe it got something in the air. 
> Too far to say.
>
> This may just be one of those unidentifiable birds that Kaufman, Sibley, 
> and others warn us about.
>
> Thanks to all.
>
> Tom Fuller
>
>
>
> Dr. Thomas H. Fuller, Jr.
> Math and Computer Science
> Principia College
> Elsah, IL 62028
> [log in to unmask]
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* To access the list archives, click here:                *
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* To access the Audubon Society of Missouri Web           *
* Site:  http://mobirds.org                               *
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