This morning while waiting for my ride to work, I saw a raptor flying over the swamp. I grabbed the binocs and noted as much as I could about the silhouette--he/she was flying too high and the morning light was too dim for seeing anything but a dark form in the sky.
After checking a silhouette chart online, I'm confident that I've now seen a Northern Harrier. Another lifer!
I've spent most of my time studying songbirds and learning to ID them, but raptors are very cool. Usually when I see something, it turns out to be just a buzzard. Still, not a sighting goes by that I don't exclaim to Kat, "Look at those eagles, soaring majestically in a circle!" (heh--there's a lot of road- and field-kill to circle over out in the country, where we live.
I was pleased with my developing ability to note details (length of wings in relation to body, width of tail, length of head/neck, etc.). I've seen a few raptors flying around near the house, but my knowledge of them is limited. They are beautiful birds, however, and I hope to learn more about them. I'm just glad I've never seen one trying to hit the birds at my feeders--I know from my readings that this is a distinct possibility when you have a popular feeder in the backyard. I guess if it has to happen, I kinda hope I'm there, with scope and camera, to capture it. It'll be like watching Wild Kingdom or something, only minus Marlin Perkins.