We put over 3,000 miles on the rental car which we drove from Denver, Colorado, to various parts of Northern Utah on our adventure two weeks ago. No grass grows under my husband's feet (or car tires) and this mileage was completed even though we did lots of daily hiking and visiting museums and historic sites. We did move once the sun was up and did not stop until dark. We are not idle vacationers and get our money's worth. (No sitting around the pool with mosquitoes and mojitos. We can sleep when we get home.)
One afternoon, we had gotten a little lost in the vast rural areas and flat lands and were trying to find a specific unmarked road outside of a small farming town in the unusually green high desert. Hubby who has the 'eagle' eye spotted the hawk pair in the tall grasses by the road first. Knowing my love of raptors he slowed as we passed and then made a quick U-turn on the empty country road to go back so I could take a photo. I worked rapidly to change lenses in the car.
When we cruised past a second time, they appeared to have already departed the area. One was so expertly camouflaged that we saw him sitting on the fence post just seconds before we cruised slowly to a stop and seconds before he took off again. I snapped the blurred photo below from the car window.
The raptor couple retreated to a nearby and safer utility line and proceeded to scream at me and my invasion of their privacy. I did not see what prey they had found in the grass and perhaps it was a small rodent who had escaped with no thanks to our curiosity. I took a few other photos, but nothing that truly showed their dignity and beauty.
After research I think they are a common marsh hawk or harrier. But I am open to any expert identification.