Posts Tagged “hawk”
Driving back to Kitimat from Prince George on May 20, I stopped at the Topley rest area. Not only is Topley a good place to break up the drive, there is a small marsh that if the time and season is correct provides an opportunity for great bird and landscape photography. Moments after I got out of the car, out of my eye I saw something high above, tiny in fact, a small bird chasing a larger one, probably a raptor of some kind, in a weaving dancing movement, reminiscent of a aerial fighter dogfight (or if you prefer, since today is the 40th anniversary of Star Wars A New Hope, a chase between an X-wing and a Tie fighter.)
No time to get back to the car to get my 500mm, just point at the sky and shoot using my Sony Alpha 7ii with the 70-300mm zoom G lens.
The first shot above is from the full frame from the 7ii, below it is cropped and enlarged and but for this shot I still couldn’t identify the smaller bird that appeared to be the aggressor and the much bigger raptor, the bird that was being pursued. Actually the G zoom performed quite well as I followed as the small bird chased the bigger hawk across the sky.
The two birds wheeled, the smaller one pushing at the larger hawk.
It was only with the second shot that I could identify the unique red and yellow wing patches of a male red-winged blackbird as you can see in the closer cropped image of the blackbird.
The bird books say that a male red-winged blackbird will aggressively defend its nest, although usually against similar size birds such as other males, yellow-headed blackbirds and marsh wrens.
The hawk climbs higher into the sky, with the red-winged blackbird still following, and below a smaller bird (bottom right just left and above the watermark) prudently stays well away from the “dogfight.”
You can see the smaller bird in this close crop.
Not all the shots worked out, the lens did “hunt” as the birds got higher.
But then the hawk circles around, with the red-winged blackbird still riding his tail feathers.
Finally, it seems,the red-winged blackbird had made his point and the hawk heads away in clear skies.
So what kind of hawk was it? I asked my birder friends. Two votes said a possible Swainson’s hawk, although the Hazelton and Bulkley Ranges are at the far north of the Swainson’s hawk’s range. One vote was “I don’t know.” If you have a better idea add a note in the comments.
Slideshow My personal favourite photographs 2010
How do you photograph wildlife without leaving the house? Live where the wildlife comes to you.
After I took early retirement from my job as Photo Editor for CBC News, some of my friends were wondering why I chose to move back to my home town of Kitimat, British Columbia (on the northwest coast). There were a whole lot of reasons, financial (I could buy a house for cash); I have plans to start a wilderness photo workshop studio here, But most of all I love the outdoors, the wilderness, the clear air.
For the past three weeks, I have pretty much been stuck in the house. (I did get out to shoot one assignment). The movers who gave me an optimal delivery window of August 23 to 24 and who were carrying much of my gear actually arrived on Saturday, September 4. (I am still unpacking). Waiting for the delivery of my new furniture and my new computer. Waiting for the tech to fix my snail speed internet connection to the high speed it is supposed to be. Waiting to get the car.
As I waited, the wildlife came to me.
Last Wednesday, September 1, a hawk was soaring over my front yard.
The hawk then swoops down over the parkette across the street, hunting for prey. the lead photo in this blog.
The next day, Thursday, September 2, the ravens came.
One pair of ravens kept together in a display of tandem, precision flying.
The two reminded me of the close tandem aerobatics I shot at the Toronto International Air Show on previous Labour Day weekends.
Sunday, September 5, was cold, cloudy and rainy.
This bird was busy in the rain, grabbing berries from a bush that grows on my back fence.
This little bird puffed himself up against the cold as he stopped on one of my fence posts.
This bird also took shelter on my fence.
A stellar jay likes to hang out on my the posts of my back deck. Finally managed to grab the shot on Monday, September 6.