June 24, 2009
While driving along Alaska's beautiful Richardson Highway, I noticed what I thought was a peregrine falcon, flying low and parallel to the road. Well, almost parallel, as we soon found our courses converging, until the bird's brown-streaked wings side-swiped my passenger window! The bird landed on the nearest perch to collect itself, while I slammed on the brakes, sat in the middle of the shoulderless highway (near a dangerous bend) and managed to snap a couple shots before the bird took off.
A few days later, as I sat at the airport scrolling through the pictures I'd taken on this trip, I scratched my head when I came across two shots of an owl. Where did these come from? It was only then that I realized that the side-swipe encounter was not with a peregrine, but a northern hawk-owl! As a bonus, the picture also showed that it was carrying a nice little snack.
In retrospect, I guess it made sense that the owl, with its poor peripheral vision, would not have noticed my approach from behind.