Northern Harrier in flight

Male Northern Harrier in flightNorthern Harrier male in flight – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/4000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Just an image I took yesterday of this male Northern Harrier in flight. As simple as the image is I like the great eye contact it has.

Male Northern Harriers are often called “The Gray Ghost”,  just by looking at the soft gray plumage I can guess part of the reason why they are nicknamed that.  Because I photograph harriers often I can also say that they are very quiet in flight and they seem to sneak up on me often. Maybe that is where the “ghost” part of the nickname comes from.



  1. Linda Rockwell March 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Another fabulous photo Mia. I almost never see the males, and your photo is wonderful!

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Linda, I see females/young more often than the adult males but I am luck in that we have so many Northern Harriers here. Thanks so much for your comment, it is much appreciated.

  2. Julie Brown March 21, 2012 at 4:16 am

    The plumage is really pretty on this handsome bird. I like your new watermark btw!

    • Mia McPherson March 21, 2012 at 6:40 am

      Julie, the plumages on these Gray Ghosts are are very lovely, such a beautiful gray. Thanks for commenting on the image and my new watermark.

  3. Tammy Karr March 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Incredible shot! I had a Northern Harrier fly right in front of me on Sunday at the wetlands, but of course I only capture a photo of his backside!

    • Mia McPherson March 21, 2012 at 6:38 am

      Tammy, believe me; I get plenty of images of Northern Harrier backsides! Thanks for your comment.

  4. Bob Zeller March 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    What a great shot, Mia. As I think I have told you before, the Northern Harrier is my nemesis. But someday…………:-) I’ll get my chance. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson March 21, 2012 at 6:36 am

      Yes Bob, someday you will get your chance(s) with Northern Harriers and I can’t wait to see those images!

  5. Seagullsteve March 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    First of all, incredible photo. Second of all, what is that thing sticking out of its vent? It’s definitely not a talon.

    • Mia McPherson March 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      Hi Steve, thanks for stopping by and commenting! I tried to figure out what that was near the vent but I am still not sure, the bird had gone down to the ground right before I photographed it in flight so it could be some vegetation it picked up. I also wondered if it wasn’t a young vole, I would expect the dark tail-like thing to be a bit thicker if it had been an adult. I’m left to ponder I guess!

      Thanks again.

  6. Prairie Birder March 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Super photo Mia! The Northern Harriers are just starting to arrive in Alberta, I saw one on Sunday but wasn’t able to take a photo of it.

    • Mia McPherson March 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you PrairieBirder, I’ll try to send a few up your way!

  7. Laurence Butler March 20, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Yikes! I’d be scared of having that predator sneak up on me. Lovely, crisp image.

    • Mia McPherson March 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Laurence, they are sneaky birds! Thanks for your comment.

  8. Scott March 20, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Terrific feather detail. Very nice, Mia!

    • Mia McPherson March 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you very much Scott, your comment is much appreciated.

  9. Mia McPherson March 20, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Thank you Judy, he sure is a handsome bird!

  10. judy watson March 20, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Wow. Very sharp. Love it. And I learned something.

Comments are closed.