This is only my second Ferruginous Hawk east of the Mississippi River. The other bird I found in Lake Co, TN where I was leading a small group on a shorebird trip. Written details and drawings by the group were sent to Brian Wheeler and our ID was confirmed as an immature Ferruginous.
These huge fields, when muddy, usually offer very distant views when you really would like to get closer. In this case not only was the bird in the middle of this huge field, it was late afternoon and clouds quickly covered the fast sinking sun. I'll try to relocate the bird for better shots but these are all I could muster.
The striking head pattern and the white running from chin to vent struck me as very unlike any of the raptor species seen in the area. Odd plumaged birds are all the time teaching me just how variable the plumages on birds can be and this distant bird demanded more study to eliminate a Krider's or some other weird variation.
Note the large splotching on the lower flanks. In the scope these were just dark but shooting with the 14 power optical of the camera and the through the 30 power scope, these spots show a chestnut coloration.