A falconer has reported to the Meadowlands Commission that he has seen a Gyrfalcon in the district twice in the past week. Another birder reported earlier in the month that he had seen a Gyrfalocon-like raptor in the district as well.
Although unconfirmed, the sightings could be significant. It would be quite a bird for the district, and the Meadowlands Commission would love to document the bird's presence with a quality photo of same with a clear Meadowlands backdrop. We will offer a suitable reward to use the photo.
So keep a camera handy and call us if you get a solid shot of our phantom bird. In the meantime, birders are organizing "search parties" for the Gyrfalcon this weekend. We will keep you informed of any progress.
More on Gyrfalcons here.
How should you pronounce "Gyrfalcon"? Click here (with your computer's sound card on). (Answer: Jeer-falcon).
Click "Continue reading …" for more on the Meadowlands Gyrfalcon reports.
Birder Michael Britt has reported that "there are prior records (accepted by committee from East Rutherford) that a dark bird spent part of the winter of '91 around Snake Hill [Laurel Hill]. It's ideal prey-wise with lots of gulls, waterfowl, Cottontails, Pheasants, rodents, etc. And the habitat…open fields, marsh, landfill, vast mudflats, a huge rock (Laurel Hill) that it could roost on, make it a suitable location for a wintering bird."
And birder Neil Maruca points out that earlier this month "I was 90% certain that I had a Gyr at DeKorte, but reported it as large falcon sp. because I couldn't absolutely eliminate a mud- or blood-covered large female Peregrine with a bulging crop, flying at above it's normal
flight weight. I still don't believe the bird was a Peregrine, but didn't
have the rigor to announce it as a Gyr.
In Neil's post to JerseyBirds on November 12, he wrote: "I had a good look at a flyby very large falcon over the environmental center impoundment, dark gray back, larger and with a sturdirer more robust body than any peregrine I've seen (body much larger than a crow or ringbill, herring gull size), slower wingbeat than a peregrine, plus wings were much wider where they joined the body. Bird crossed from the environmental center headed east accross the turnpike, general direction of Laurel creek/Harmon cove. Very certain this was a falcon, classic pointed wing shape and I had views of it for 20-30 seconds in multiple flight postures. Was within 150 feet when I first saw it."