Formerly called the Marsh Hawk, the Northern Harrier is a hawk that will always remain close to my heart.
I give these birds credit for really pulling me into bird watching ten years ago. Their presence in the winter fields of the rural area where I formerly lived, prompted me to buy my first pair of binoculars. And from that moment on, watching them hunt in the last hours before roosting became my evening ritual.
On my recent visit to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wiconsin, where I witnessed the juvenile Whooping crane class of 2009 training for this year's ultralight-led migration, I also had the opportunity to take a meadow walk. Among other wonderful sights, this beautiful Northern Harrier glided low over the marshy meadow nearby, hovered, then made her strike.
An incredible bird of swift skill and grace, it was a thrill to watch her and fun to try and re-capture the moment in a sketch.