Turkey Vulture today over Riverside Rd, just S. of Owens River

Observers: Jim & Deb Parker
Email: jimndebby@qnetdotcom
Verification: sierra
Remote Name:
Date: 01/02/2007
Time: 05:04 PM -0500


While trying to refind the Western Bluebirds Deb had last week near Dixon Ln, a large all dark tipsy flier flew out of a large cottonwood and began a slow circling flight high up and south toward Bishop. It held its wings up in a dihedral pattern. We checked carefully to make sure there was no white in the tail as in a Zone-tailed Hawk which "mimics" the Turkey Vulture. Above the base of the tail was a narrow waist with the tail spread in a fan shape below. While we never got to see its red head, a golden eagle has straighter, longer, more "board-like" wings, which our raptor didn't have. The wings had separated feathers at the tip, as in the fingers of a spread hand. The underwing coverts were dark with the flight feathers only slighly less dark. The shape was distinctive. Is this a late bird or an early bird? We also had Mt.Bluebirds with the females showing buffy fronts, nothing like the bright rufous of the Western females that were seen last week. Also, Jim spotted a Sage Thrasher!