Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hawks of Winter

My dad often drives around the plains near Denver, and noted that the bare trees made for excellent hawk watching. He enlisted me and my 300 mm zoom lens, and last Saturday we went hawk hunting! Our first few finds were cute little sparrow hawks, (technically the American Kestrel) but they proved very skittish, often booking at first sight of my camera.

I found that trying to photograph birds who don't want to be photographed can be very difficult. Especially as my zoom lens can take quite a while to focus. By the time things were ready, as often as not the bird was gone. Luckily though, this gorgeous young Buteo, likely a Swainson's hawk,(edit: We have reclassified this guy as a Ferruginous Hawk) stuck around on his telephone poll long enough for me to get pretty close. He was talking to me as I closed the distance, probably saying "if you get closer I'm flying away!"

The last one we saw didn't stick around either, but still gave us a good glimpse as he soared away.

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