Thursday, October 29, 2009

Great Hunters; Big and Small

A common sight if you are up at dawn, a pack of 4 coyotes crossed a field, but stopped for a photo op. The other 3 who were out of frame froze in their tracks to figure me out.

A sniff of the morning air...detecting my scent; the coyotes trotted off over a ridge for safety.

This male Kestral stood perch alot longer than most for a few portraits. The cable must be a favorite, as bits of prey are still stuck to the wire.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hawk Vs. Squirrel

The sun was out and so was I, yesterday afternoon as I got off work. I went to a park I had not been to in a few months, to check out the fall foliage and see what might be scurrying around in my absence.

So as I entered the woods, I heard some people behind me. I didn't want to be in there with them, because they were quite chatty, so I turned around so that I could get to another spot before they would. So I am walking back out, when I heard them again behind me. Are you kidding me? They too, turned around. It was like I had a shadow. What the ? So I stopped dead in my tracks and let them pass me by. Buh-bye!

Anyway, I hear a familiar cry, and try to think of what it was...A hawk. I scan the trees and see nothing so I decided to sit under a shelter and wait it out. A few minutes later, a hawk swoops down low to the ground and lands behind a tree. I thought that he must have something behind there and wait. He takes off, with nothing in his talons, and lands low in a tree nearby. I wait...

Eventually, I see a squirrel climbing around to the front of the trunk of the tree, and then here comes the hawk...The next few images are what ensued...

He missed the squirrel, but let me tell you, he missed quite a few times. He swooped back and forth for what seems like forever, and all the while, I couldn't understand why this squirrel didn't run for his life up the tree. Well, the squirrel finally started climbing the trunk and disappeared behind some branches.

So I am still waiting for the hawk to swoop back, and minutes pass. I decide to move a bit closer to see if I can see the squirrel for the upcoming shots. As I stand at a decent angle, the hawk lands in the same tree under some leafy cover. I see the squirrel just a few feet away from him on the trunk. I click away, the hawk hears me and flies off.

A few minutes later, while I was waiting for the hawk to come back, I see the squirrel drop to the ground from at least 25 feet up. I thought for sure, he was dead. A few minutes later, I see him moving on the ground, but not with ease. The hawk definately wounded him, and by the way he was moving, he got it pretty bad. The fall couldn't have been good either. I knew it was only a matter of time...

Then, guess what happens? The 2 people from earlier come walking into view and reroute their direction towards me. I can't believe it. They walk right under the tree I was aiming at, and glide right past me, even though I was off the beaten path and minding my own business. Well, it isn't hard to conclude that the hawk didn't come back, so after the people were out of sight, I went to check on the squirrel. He found cover in some underbrush along a creek bed and skittered off away from me. I knew the photo op was over, and left the poor squirrel to nature.

It's not a very good ending, but at least there is an unknown factor. I hope you can recover squirrel!


Can anyone tell what type of hawk this was? I know it is not a red-tailed ,but was thinking red-shouldered because it was quite large, but I couldn't see the red.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Second Chance

Kicking up my big buck search a notch, I am spending my evenings and weekend mornings in search of the elusive pre-rut monster bucks. They are on the move and the the best times to spot one is early mornings and dusk. I found this one at dusk, and wouldn't you know, the first shot was taken in "auto" which totally threw quality out the window. It's too bad, because he was really close and I liked that he was in some trees with a doe. The second shot is when he decided to leave, but luckily, at his own pace. He didn't like my presence, but he didn't run either, so I got a second chance. Both shots are still not up to standards, but what can you do with low light, forcing the ISO to extreme highs. I am just lucky enough to even have the encounter.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reflection of a Hint of Autumn

Driving by a favorite spot, I often see and expect plenty of the same ole-same ole. But...with this common scene, a splash of new and different colors caught my eye on this calm morning. A gang of Rough-winged Swallows who's common watering hole bar is this multi-level snag, gave way to a multi-color background that battles for my attention as I compose the shot. Is this a decent shot? Or is the busy too busy? You be the judge...Click for the detail, as usual, Blogger is a bit fuzzy!


I found this buck hiding behind a goldenrod frond. I had this conversation with him, but I don't think he heard me: "Seriously Buck? Do you think I can't see you? Really? Hel-lo! I-see-you! I'm taking your picture now!" I found it quite amusing, but also frustrating, because there was barely a whisper of wind, which I needed to sway the flower past his eye for a decent photo. I put my car in reverse to inch back, but the buck heard that and bolted. Doh! Oh well, I had to shoot with low light so the quality suffered anyway...But it was worth the giggle and was something to blog about!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Coot Scootin Boogie

Trying to get some shots of pelicans on the water, I approached the waters edge and scared off these coots. They scared me too, as I didn't see them until they flushed. I found this photo particularly funny, reminding me of the classic cartoon with Roadrunner being chased by Wiley Coyote.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lots of Butterflies

Here are the images from the other day at Goose Lake Prairie. I had to settle for shooting the butterflies, as the critters around here are not cooperating very well, as they typically do around this time every year. The flower of choice for most of these shots are Asters. I love how Asters make the butterfly colors pop with their bright purple petals. Most of the other prairie foliage is drying up into drab greens and browns, so seeking out the Asters for photos is a no-brainer.


Southern Dogface

American Lady

Can anyone please I.D. this one? Looks like a fighter jet with those wings!

Common Sulphur

I know this post is not all that exciting, but what-you-gonna-do...I'm bored out here!

Fall Migration-American White Pelicans

A quick trip on a gorgeous day to Goose Lake Prairie yesterday produced a few decent images, but this one I am showcasing here was my favorite, since I shoot very few scenics. I will save the others for tomorrow...

Alot of my blogger friends occasionally question why there are pelicans in Illinois when I post about them. The reason is that I am located on a migration route, and happen to live near 2 Nuclear Power Cooling Lakes, where the water temps can reach into the 100's at the peak of summer. These types of lakes attract 100's and 100's of American White Pelicans on their journey both north and south, and stay for weeks at a time. Some have even stayed and made it their home year round. That is why there are pelicans in Illinois. These pelicans were just flying in from a nearby cooling lake to fish a large pond nearby at Goose Lake Prairie State Park.