Tag Archives: Raptors

A Raptor

Small Coopers Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, or maybe a Merlin? Hanging out where a forested area meets an agricultural field, any of them could be at home here.

Small Raptor
Small Raptor

The features that CornellLab’s All About Birds uses to distinguish the Merlin from the Sharp-shinned Hawk require flight or at least other angles. The Sharp-shinned Hawk has short, rounded wings and  a very long tail. The Merlin has sharply pointed wings, a broad chest, and a medium length tail. Then there are the sex and age variations to confuse the ID.

Small Raptor
Small Raptor

It may come down to the “bluntness” of the face: the Merlin, a falcon, has a blunt face and the hawks are more pointy.

Small Raptor
Small Raptor

This fellow stayed put even after I took his photo and had moved on.

Barred Owl Watching Me

We often walk around a path where a pair of Barred Owls has been seen regularly since the spring. This was the first time I saw them both. The Owl below was quietly watching us while we photographed his mate in a tree on the other side of the path.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl- click image for larger view

I had stepped aside to let another photographer get a view of the first Owl and was surprised to see and get better shots of Owl number two. There were lots of branches preventing a wider shot but he was closer and the light was a little better. He didn’t stay long and after this over-the-shoulder glance he swooped further out into the trees.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click image for larger view

Red-tailed Hawk Downtown

We often walk through the cemetery at Charleston’s Circular Congregational Church when we are in the neighborhood. Filled with trees, it is welcoming to many birds which may be why a Red-tailed Hawk buzzed the area, cruising over my head. He never slowed and I watched his beautiful tail disappear over a wall headed towards Queen Street.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

We headed that way too, wondering if he might be perched in a nearby tree. Even better, he was in clear view on the tile roof of one of the old French Quarter homes.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk against a harsh sky

I switched to my long lens and he stayed put while I angled around the front of the building, getting a few views of this temporary king of Queen Street.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk — finally a view with the tail

Daily life went on below him: post-Irma trash pick up, street repairs, tourists bent on seeing every street but missing the details, a suited business man conducting his business on the phone in the street…nothing seemed to faze him.

Barred Owl Gets Lunch

Barred Owl watches the water below.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl Perched in Tree – click on image for larger view

With little warning the Owl swoops from the branch to the water.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl drops out of tree – click on image for larger view

After a small splash around at the base of the tree the Owl emerges…

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click on image for larger view

Yes, he was successful! A fresh water shrimp or some type of crayfish was firmly clasped in the Owl’s beak.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl with lunch – click on image for larger view

The Owl flew to a safer spot, transferring his catch to his claw, and in no time he had consumed it.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl securely holding his catch – click on image for larger view

Foot Loose Little Blue Herons

The juvenile Little Blue Heron are more mobile, but most of them still weren’t flying on this day about a week ago. They are venturing further away from their nests and their feet were in full view.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

As I developed these photographs I noticed how many ways they use those feet, often digging their nails in for support or to climb a branch.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Head on shots of birds rarely look like much, but in this one the Little Blue’s feet are nicely lined up and show off how long his nails are.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

They don’t need a very big branch to hang on to.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

As we were leaving the rookery this adult Little Blue landed above us giving another foot view.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Barred Owl

This Barred Owl was looking over a small pond in a grove of trees that let very little light through.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click photo for larger view

He was more concerned with watching for movement in the water and on the small island than with humans passing by.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click photo for larger view

The Owl moved from tree to tree, patiently looking for a meal. Unfortunately the space was too tight to get an in flight shot.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click photo for larger view

Checking out the water below with a twist of his head, the Owl’s giant feet were on display.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl – click photo for larger view

Great Horned Owl

It’s easy to see why Owls are one of the biggest attractions at the Center for Birds of Prey. Trained to participate in the Center’s Environmental Education programs, they tend to sit calmly on a perch giving a wonderful opportunity to see them up close. This Great Horned Owl, however, was intent on getting on the ground for a few minutes.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl – click photo for larger view

His handler waited for him to look around and settle.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl – click photo for larger view

After a bit he went back to the perch and showed off with a lovely pose.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl – click photo for larger view

The Center for Birds of Prey, Photography Day, April 2017,  Awanda, SC.

 

 

Red-shouldered Hawk Snake Snack

This Red-shouldered Hawk kept a vigilant watch while he snarfed down lunch, his head was swiveling all around.

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I hadn’t seen him land so didn’t know what he might be eating.

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I was rather surprised when I developed these photos that it was a snake and at the way it was coiled up under his feet.

Red-shouldered Hawk

From a little further down the path the background was nicer and the snake out of view.

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Click any photo for a larger view/close up of the snake.

Taken February 22, 2017.

Red-shouldered Hawk

We spotted three or four Red-shouldered Hawks today at the edge of the swamp today, mostly sitting in the sun and occasionally calling in their high-pitched whistle.

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This one spotted a snack, dropped down to the ground and came back with what appears to be a frog.

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He held the frog in his beak for over a minute and the photos don’t show any sign it was alive.

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He landed on stick that made for nice photos in the afternoon sun.

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I didn’t see the hawk actually eat the frog–he may have dropped it.

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If so, he didn’t seem concerned.

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Click on any photo for a larger view.