Thursday, February 26, 2009

Flight of the Great White Hawk

I've posted plenty of times about this leucistic red-tailed hawk. It's an amazing creature, and every time I see it, I feel very lucky indeed. So, once again, I introduce the Great White Hawk!

I always look for color pigmentation when it flies. The patch on top of it's head is seen most of the time (not here), but the tail feathers are not.

These shots do not give the right angle to showcase the tail feathers, although you can barely see through and see very slight coloring.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Territory Disputes

I'm just about to give up searching for wildlife for the afternoon, exhausting every local spot, when I see a friendly face whom I share the same passion of nature. (Hi Pam!) I stop for a chat and catch up with what we've seen and not seen in the recent days.

As we are talking, a few red-tailed hawks take to the sky and start soaring around...

Then another hawk decides he wants to cause some trouble and takes to the skies also...

We knew this unproductive day had just changed gears...

We watched as the pursuit went on.

I can only guess that an unwelcome bachelor hawk had his eye on a pretty lady, and her mate was going to battle for her love.

Then when everything settles down with the 3 hawks, along comes Mr. Eagle, minding his own business...

A hawk decided that Mr. Eagle couldn't soar in his territory, so he was going to go head to head with him.

The hawk might have been the underdog in this fight...

...but he had the will to prevail.

The eagle left without much of a fight.

It was a very cool sight to see. You just never know when things might happen and change the course of the day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another One Gets Away

I'm on a roll. Not a necessarily good roll, but not a bad roll either. I am taking alot of flight shots, and some are getting captured just a bit out of frame, as with the flicker. This one is not a great shot, although the setting is nice. The snow was captured nicely falling as the hawk takes flight with it's victim. Obviously, I got him without an expression, or a face for that matter,'s a learning experience with every frame. What did I learn? Just keep shooting, they don't have to be perfect. Thats what makes digital files so attractive. Trash em, it won't cost you a dime. Frustration, on the other hand, is becoming... well... frustrating! Aarg!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flicker Finding

After downloading my card and perusing these flicker images, I saw something odd. For comparison, look at the photo above and below at the shoulder area. Do you see that beigy colored feather tucked in? Weird! Anyway...

There were a group of flickers totalling about 8, eating the tiny dark berries. It was a really hot spot for photography so I parked and waited. I was lucky enough to tuck way down into the drivers seat to get a shot of this guy flying off.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pileated Woodpecker

A few weeks ago, I heard a few Pileated Woodpeckers communicate to eachother and fly across the river. I sat there, waited, and then they flew back across and landed pretty close to me. It is fascinating to watch these giant birds fly. I put together this first shot to show the flight. This flight style is typical of all woodpeckers.

He chose a tree pretty close, which is pretty unusual for these elusive birds, since I was out in the open.

Then chose the next tree that happened to be saturated in sun and backlit from my perspective.

These photos are not my finest. I talked about my lens being sick, so most of these were hurriedly manual focus.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mute Swans

I'm a little bummed...I have to send my buddy, the Canon 100-400mm lens that has been so faithful, in for repairs. I am renting a replacement until it is fixed, but my trusty friend is going for a ride. I've been holding back these photos for a few days, hoping for better weather to take the flight shots in, but the swans have not cooperated. They refuse to fly on demand, and chose on this day to fly under gray skies. These are the last of trustys trustiness, as the autofocus is very sick. Since these photos, only manual focus could do the job. Not too many creatures wait for me to dial in clean shots. Get Well Soon Trusty!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Something Different

I don't normally shoot this type of image, but the rushing water inspired me. I slowed the shutter way down (10) and attempted to handhold this shot using my 100-400mm lens. It was all I had with me so why not try? I didn't expect it to come out sharp at all, but I surprised myself. I liked the ice nugget in the water.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Couple of First of Year's

I found this Great Horned Owl on this nest that I have been watching on January 30th. I didn't photograph her til recently because I didn't want the nest to fail because of my intrusion. I waited because last year there was an owl couple that I stopped for, (who wouldn't stop when you saw 2 owls in the nest) and a day later they were gone and never returned. I didn't want that to happen this year, so I waited for well over a week. She is still there so it was worth waiting for.

The first sign of Spring is hearing the Red-winged Blackbirds. I heard/saw/photographed them on February 10th.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Canada Geese

I didn't know it at the time, but after reviewing my images, an eagle was captured in the background with these geese.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Great White Hawk

I ran across the secretly famous "White Hawk" yesterday. He is a leucistic Red-tailed Hawk, with a small dark patch on the back of his head and a few of the tail feathers being the characteric red. I've photographed him many times, but each and every time is very special. I've seen him for over 4 years now, but have no idea just how old he or she might be. Lifespans of Red-tailed Hawks are 10-25 years in the wild. This is the first time I have captured him with a meal. What an awesome creature!

I think the meal is a squirrel.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


An Immature bald eagle perched

Female common Mergansers in flight

Common Goldeneye in flight

A Coyote in early dawn light

Ring-necked Pheasant in snow shadows

Monday, February 9, 2009

Last of the Bald Eagles

So I've been promising the eagles for days on end, so finally, here they are! What I was really holding out for, was a "grab shot". Because I think I can outwit the ol' bald ones, I set up shop in a different location than normal. This place puts me on the waters edge near the dam, but with the treelines in close proximity, it funnels the eagles closer as they fly past. I spent a few mornings sitting at the shore at sunrise, freezing to death, waiting for shots...When I couldn't take the cold anymore, I would hop in the car for a short warm-up. Wouldn't you know, that that would be the time the eagles would funnel through and dive for fish at my very spot! Twice this had happened. On both days. I would summize that it was me that detered them, but watching from my car, 2 photographers walked right up and snapped away their images of a lifetime without even trying. Sometimes, life isn't fair, especially when you are paying your dues, but I'm not bitter. Yes I am. Anyway, enjoy! With the warmer temps, these guys are spreading out along the river, so opportunities are slimming down.

There are 11 flying in this shot. A tugboat blew it's horn and scattered them out of the trees.