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Posts Tagged ‘hawk’

I continue to try to photograph every hawk that I see. This past weekend I encountered a hawk that was perched relatively low in a tree that was pretty far away. I got a couple of shots of the hawk in the tree that had a surprisingly large number of leaves still on it.

As I was setting up my tripod to try to get a steadier shot, the hawk took off. Instead of flying up, he flew down low across a field with trees in the background. Although I didn’t really think I would be able to get a decent shot, I kept shooting and got the shot below. I like the position of the hawk and the contrast between its light brown color and the darker tones of the tree. It not often that I get a chance to take a photo of a hawk in flight at that angle.

I am also including one of the shots of the hawk in the tree in the hope that someone will be able to help me identify his type.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Why do some hawks fan their tails out when they are soaring and others don’t?

On an overcast day earlier this week, I was watching two hawks soaring through the air together, when I happened to notice that one of them kept his tail fanned out all of the time. His tail was so noticeably striped that I am pretty sure that he is a Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus).  The other hawk, however, never fanned out his tail. Looking at the wings of the two hawks, I think they are probably the same kind, although one of them looks to have a somewhat longer body.

So I am left wondering why, under the same  conditions, they each chose to us their tails differently.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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It was cold (about 24 degrees F or minus 4.4 C) this morning and the sky was completely covered with clouds as we awaited the coming snowstorm. Nonetheless, I went out with my camera to my marshland park to see what animals and birds were active.

Previously I had identified a tree where a hawk is frequently present and one was there today. The perch is pretty high up and there is a field of cattails between the boardwalk and the tree, so I can’t get very close to the hawk. As I stood watching the hawk, he suddenly flew almost straight down into the field and returned to a different tree after what had obviously been a successful hunt. I attempted to photograph the action, but my camera was not adjusted properly for the reduced light in the field and my photos were blurry and out of focus.

All was not lost, however, because a short time later a hawk came flying from the same area and I was able to get some photos of him. When I looked at the photos on my computer, I discovered that the hawk, which I am pretty sure is a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus), is carrying  a rodent in his talons.

I am not sure why he chose to transport his prey to another location, but it provided me a really cool photo opportunity.

prey5_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This week I have been posting a lot of photos of soaring birds that I photographed last weekend. This last batch, which includes some of my favorites, features a young hawk soaring in a number of different positions. I was fortunate that he flew almost directly overhead and the light was reasonably good.

The strength and beauty of a bird like this is hard to capture in photos, but it was really impressive to watch him effortlessly soaring on the winds.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I was looking up in the sky watching a hawk soaring through the air this past weekend when I noticed that there was another bird there too, a black bird that I eventually identified as a crow. The two of them seemed to be soaring on the same updrafts, each virtually mirroring the movements of the other. My first thought was that they must be having a lot of fun, gliding along together. When I looked at my photos, though, I realized that a more serious drama probably had been taking place at high altitude.

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Now, I have never had a hawk come rushing at me with talons flashing, but the crow seems to have decided that it was probably not a good idea to wait around and see what the hawk’s intentions are. The hawk began to chase the crow, it appears, and the crow took immediate evasive action. As far as I can tell, the crow got away. Here are some shots that I took of the chase. They are not very high resolution, but they help illustrate a fascinating encounter.

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Since last weekend when I took these shots, I’ve done some research on the internet and learned that crows and hawks don’t get along very well and each has been known to pester the other. I’ll keep my eyes open now for any additional encounters between the two species.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This past weekend I saw more hawks than I have ever encountered before. I am not sure if some are migrating through the area or if the ones already here were more active than before.

This hawk, who looks to be immature, was sitting on a tree limb across a small field from me and I was able to get shots of him a few different positions. I need to figure out a way to get closer to him or use a longer lens in order to get clearer images, but I am still at a stage in my photographic journey at which I am excited to take any photos of hawks and eagles in which they are recognizable. As some readers are well aware, I have been trying to take photos of birds in flight and I managed one so-s0 image of this hawk when he flew away.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This past weekend I was fortunate enough to see a few hawks. I am still having trouble identifying the different types of hawks, especially when they are immature, as I think this hawk might be.

I spotted this one perched on the top of a old broken-off tree overlooking one of the fields of the marsh and was able to creep close enough to get a clear shot (although nor close enough to get an image that didn’t require significant cropping). For me, there is something regal about the hawk’s position, as though he is a monarch surveying his domain.

I have a few more shots of a hawk in a tree that I probably will post later, but wanted to share this one first.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Yesterday I encountered this big bird in a tree and I’m pretty sure that it is a hawk, probably a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus). I was a happy that he was perched relatively low in the tree, so that I could get a relatively normal perspective view of his head and body. His coloration doesn’t match exactly any of the photo identification keys I looked at, so I am not one hundred percent sure of the identification. The photo is a bit soft and grainy, because of the distance and lighting, but I like that fact that I was able to get a relatively unobstructed view of this beautiful bird.

Hawk in a tree

Hawk in a tree

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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It was nice today to get back to nature after a week in the city of Vienna, Austria. Still a little jet-lagged, I got up early and headed out to Huntley Meadows Park on a cold frosty morning. There are still lots of migrating geese noisily coming and going through the park, and a smaller number of ducks too.  Familiar cardinals, blackbirds, and sparrow were active today as well.

One real highlight for me today was having a hawk fly overhead. I’ve been told that there are Red-tailed Hawks, Red-Shouldered Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, and Sharp-Shinned Hawks at the park, and I had no idea what kind of hawk it was that I managed to photograph. I saw him land in a tree across a small field and I was able to get some shots of him there. Neither of these two photos is super sharp (the light was not good and they are cropped, especially the one with the hawk in the tree), but I am happy to have been able to capture images of a beautiful, powerful bird. I think that this is probably a Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus), although I am not one hundred percent sure on the identification.

I hope that I will be able to see the hawks in action this winter (and possibly some bald eagles that are occasionally sighted here too).

Hawk in flight

Hawk in flight

Hawk in tree

Hawk in tree

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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