Oh how I love these types of birds. I previously shared my top shots of bald eagles and owls, now we look at some images of other types of eagles, hawks and falcons. Raptors are extraordinary creatures, ferocious predators but also quite beautiful and widely varied. From the tiny American kestrel to the monstrous golden eagle, all hold a special fascination for me and are quite often the focus of my images. Here’s a look back at my favorite captures of these creatures of the sky from my 2020 photo year.
Some days out taking pictures just don’t turn out as planned.
This past Sunday I headed to the northern Colorado Front Range, certain I was going to have a great day with bald eagles. After over 100 miles driven I had seen a total of two eagles, none of which were close enough for pics.
Frustrated, I worked my way home, hoping to find something – anything – to take a picture of. Just a few miles east of home, I see this male American kestrel hovering over a field, ready to drop on some unsuspecting prey.
As skittish as these little falcons are, I didn’t have much hope but I stopped anyway. Much to my pleasure (and relief), he flew up and landed on a pole right by me. Three times he would go out and hunt the field, returning to the pole each time.
This allowed me to get some pretty cool shots, including this one as he returned to the pole. He looked absolutely handsome and the blue from behind the clouds really helps make the image pop. A reminder to never give up a
I could add another “F word” to describe these birds – “frustrating.”
American kestrels are quite common out on the plains of Colorado and I see them frequently. Getting good pics of them when I do see them though is not common. They are quite skittish and they have a knack for taking off in the direction that prevents a shot. Throw in the fact that they are small (North America’s smallest falcon in fact) and it is just flat out hard to get a good capture of them, particularly in flight.
This past weekend I got lucky and captured a few decent images of a female though. She was perched on a wire like they often are but this time she flew back toward me giving a few flight shots in the process. Definitely was fun.
It has been a while since I have been able to get a good pic of one of these little falcons. They are quite skittish and oftentimes getting images of them is an exercise in frustration.
As I was walking an area open space recently, I saw this handsome guy hunting over a field. He would hover, dive, take flight, hover, dive and repeat over and over. Unfortunately for him, he just wasn’t having much luck. All that activity must have tired him out a bit as he landed on a tree next to the trail and let me get somewhat close and nab a few pictures.
American Kestrels and North America’s smallest falcon but no less ferocious than its larger cousins or any other raptor. They are very adept predators, striking their pretty from above with amazing speed and accuracy (except on this day – haha).
This good-looking fellow not only provided a nice photo op, he also gave me a break from my worries.
A couple of weeks ago while out taking pics in one of our snowstorms, my truck died on me (starter failure). A friend towed me to a parking lot and I waited for a tow truck to take my truck to the shop. I waited. And I waited. The first company assigned to tow me failed to show up and refused to answer calls (I’m looking at you Corderos Towing & Services!).
While I waited, not only was I frustrated, I was bored. Good thing I had my camera with me to help me pass my time!
This falcon held on tight to a nearby mullein plant while the wind and snow blew. Thankfully he was quite patient and gave me a few nice captures and a welcome distraction. While it didn’t make up for the hassle, it made the wait and the cold a bit more tolerable.
Check out this pretty lady! I happened across her yesterday as she hunted a field, hovering for long periods of time over perspective prey.
Kestrels are usually pretty skittish but this one didn’t seem to mind me one bit and let me spend a good bit of time photographing her. Occasionally she would plunge into the brush after some form of prey but each time would come back empty-handed and resume her hunt.
She gave me some of the best flight shots I have ever captured of a kestrel which had me pretty excited.
American kestrels are quite common. Here in Colorado you will oftentimes find them perched on poles and wires, keeping watch on the ground below. They are North Americas smallest falcon but don’t let their size fool you. They are just as effective of a predator and just as vicious as any raptor.
It isn’t often you can get these little raptors to sit still for a picture. This past Sunday I found a male that posed every-so-briefly for me. A couple clicks of the camera and it was gone. These falcons are way cool and the males have that amazing plumage. I just wish they would let me get better pics! 😉
This pretty lady looks like she means serious business! American kestrel’s are North America’s smallest falcons and they can be just as vicious as any raptor.
I see these often when out on my #photo drives but most pictures I have of them are while they are posing on wires. They are pretty skittish and very fast and unpredictable movers so flight shots are hard to get.
This one I captured last weekend at a photoshoot event with Nature’s Educators. It is a captive bird which allowed me to
Such a pretty lady but not one that cared to have her picture taken. This female American kestrel was hanging out on a utility wire recently, as they are often seen doing.
Despite a slow, careful approach, she decided my presence wasn’t particularly welcome. I didn’t take it personally as I do have that effect on creatures of all types sometimes. Ha!
Such cool and amazing raptors are the American kestrels. They are also, a bit flighty, and not usually too willing to pose for pictures. This pretty lady was typical, barely giving me time to get my camera up before taking off from her perch. I was happy just to have caught this bit of action. 😉