We were headed out towards the South Jetty of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area to have a look at the pounding surf, and we saw a pair of birds flying low over the prairie grasses inland from the coast. I took them to be gulls out the corner of my eye but then realized they were flying differently.
In war movies, there's the occasional reference to flying beneath the radar, with planes skimming the surface and all, and that's what these birds were doing. They hardly ever went more than 10 feet off the ground as they soared across the landscape, appearing and disappearing around the high shrubs. I finally saw the flash of white at the base of their tails, and I knew they were Northern Harriers.
|A bit fuzzy, but this was my best shot showing the owl-like face of the Harrier Hawk.|
POSTSCRIPT (7/6/17): The scientific name of the Northern Harrier has been changed to Circus hudsonius