Surprise Sharp-Beaked Visitor

Yet again, I’ve gotten a touch behind in my blogging and picture-taking, but for good reason – I was rebuilding my home office and giving it a serious upgrade!  With Alpha Pup central under construction, there was a lot to do just to get things to the point where I can setup the computer again.

Now that the office is under control, I’m back and catching up a tad.  Thankfully, I’m not months behind like I sometimes get with processing pictures.  I really only had 1 big batch to get through and that was a of a surprise visitor we had across the street from our house weeks ago – a gorgeous red tail hawk!

Red tail hawks are pretty common in our neck of the woods in Colorado, but it doesn’t make it any less special when you see them swooping around.  On this particular day, I arrived home from work to find one sitting square atop a spruce tree directly across the street from our house!  Better yet, he was crazy-patient and stayed in that small area for the next hour+, giving me time to run back and forth and get different lenses and shots of him as the great light of the setting sun was coming in.

Hawk Visitor
Hawk Visitor

I think the only reason I noticed him there when I arrived home from my “day job” was because a flock of school kids and their parents were crowded around a fence pointing and taking pictures with their phones.  When I realized what they were looking at, I took care of our dog’s needs as quickly as I could, scooped up the camera, and raced back out the door.

Once the school kids got on their way, it was just me and my camera there to get shots of him.  I got a ton of him perched in different ways because he really wasn’t interested in going anywhere.  Fine by me.  Eventually though, he did finally take off and swoop towards me.  Bird photography is not my specialty (I leave that to my dad), so I wasn’t able to react quickly enough to get an in-focus in-flight shot, but I was able to get a few of him scratching around in the dry grasses checking me out.

Stretch & Scratch
Stretch & Scratch

Eventually, my battery started to die, so I had to duck back inside.  I figured I had gotten my fill of shots and he’d be gone by the time I switched batteries.  No worries though, because I was already excited at this shooting opportunity that more or less dropped in my lap on a random weekday afternoon.

After a workout, I looked outside and sure enough – he was still out there!!  I tossed on some warmer clothes, grabbed a different lens, a fresh battery, and scooted back outside for a few more shots.  Probably the best of those shots is this one of him just hanging out on the fence in the schoolyard deciding if he should stick around, bug out, or simply just bake himself in the warmth of the setting sun.

Stay, Go, or Bake in the Sun
Stay, Go, or Bake in the Sun

For the next 2 weeks, the hawk kept coming back and hanging out in the same spot around the same time of day.  It was pretty cool seeing him stick to this pattern.  (And my dad was so jealous since he normally has to drive somewhere and wait for hours for this kind of shooting opportunity!)  I haven’t seen him there in the last 3-4 weeks, but I’m hopeful he’ll be back soon.  Even better if he shows up when my folks are visiting in June so my dad can go out there with his crazy-big lens and get some killer shots!

 

-JC

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