Against the Odds: WPC

A few years ago I did a National Photowalk in my nearest ‘big’ town where all sorts of amateur and professional photographers met up to wander round the town taking photographs of things that interested them. Well I found myself wandering through a small downtown park when I felt rather than saw an enormous swoosh go past me. It was a fabulous red-tailed hawk and at first I really did think there must have been a trained bird-of-prey type display going on in the park as I thought it was trailing some tethers on its legs. Lo and behold it landed in a tree right next to me and I saw it didn’t have any tethers, it was actually holding a dead squirrel. I’ve never gotten so close to nature before and even though it was pretty gruesome it was fascinating watching the hawk rip the guts out of the squirrel. Also they don’t eat the fur. It was ripping the fur off and dropping it on the ground. As I said fascinating and gruesome. I stood and watched it for a good 20 minutes then it moved trees. I followed it and watched it for another 15 minutes before it was time for me to leave. Did I get lucky or what? My camera had a 90mm lens on as I was trying to use only one lens that day to improve my composition skills, but even without the superzoom I think I managed to get some pretty decent shots. Anyway I thought these were the perfect photographs to go with this week’s theme of Against the Odds.

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This next photograph was funny. I could just picture the squirrel going “Oh cr*p! I’ve picked the wrong tree! Maybe if I just stay still he won’t notice me…” “Mildred, Mildred, where are you? Watch out, there’s a big sock monkey up this tree!” (for sock monkey reference see a previous post https://alba1047.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/sock-monkeys-and-giant-mice/)

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Uh-oh!!! Be the tree. Be the tree. I am the tree.

Poor Mildred was lunch for the hungry hawk (sounds a bit like a childrens book!)

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“Have any of you seen Mildred?”

Against the Odds

Hawks

I wrote a post about hawks (or sock monkeys as we like to call them here) some time ago – this one https://alba1047.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/sock-monkeys-and-giant-mice/ but this time there’s pictures! I am privileged to have a backyard that backs onto woods and I just love sitting outside and listening to all the critters and varmits and birds (is a bird a critter or varmit?) Last year I discovered that the screeching noise I kept hearing was a young hawk calling for it’s mother (or father, not sure who does the feeding). Anyway this year not only is the screeching back but I managed to capture both the young bird and the mother (father?)

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Juvenile Red Tailed Hawk
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Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk

The first two are of the young one. It was just sitting on the grass verge on my street as I was driving in, so luckily I always have my compact camera in my handbag and I managed to snap off these two shots out the car window.

Then when I got to my house the parent flew past me and landed on a tree in my neighbours garden. I hope they didn’t mind me walking over their grass to grab a shot with my DSLR but it was too good a chance to miss. This one is full zoom (300mm) on my Pentax K5.

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Adult Red-Tailed Hawk

I’m hoping to grab a shot of the owl that lives in the woods next. I did catch it once but the photo was terrible. It was only good enough to identify it as a Barred Owl. The owls make absolutely NO noise as they fly past. Their wing spans must be at least 4 feet, they are amazing birds.

I’m so lucky to have all this wildlife around.