This pretty lady has become a regular at this spot. Three weeks in a row I have seen her on the same downed tree. I, of course, am not complaining as she is just gorgeous and gives me some nice captures. This past Saturday, in the wake of a light snowfall, she was there, just keeping watch and staying warm in the early morning sun. Best of all, she granted me an audience and let me get some nice closeups – far easier than trying to get pics of these erratic flyers when they are hunting. Have a great weekend!
I absolutely love these raptors but they can be a real challenge to photograph. They rarely sit still and in flight, their low, erratic patterns are a challenge. Yesterday I was lucky enough to come across this beautiful lady sitting on a downed tree. While I was able to get some closer pics, I think I like this more distant one from the encounter the best. I love how it shows the environment she was in at the time and the fact she is looking right at me.
I had a pretty decent photo outing yesterday with hits and some misses. Certainly, one of the hits was this pretty lady.
I spotted her as she hunted over a field and while she was a good ways away, she seemed to be working her way toward me. I stopped and waited, hoping she would continue on the same track and, indeed, she did. In doing so, she flew quite close and even seemed to give me a bit of a glance as she did.
These hawks are common across North America, Europe and Asia. Here in Colorado, we most commonly see them in the colder months. It is believed that owl-like ‘dish’ around their face helps to focus sounds toward their ears, allowing them to listen for their prey as they fly low and fast overhead.
I’ve been pretty fortunate getting some nice pics of these hawks of late and this past Sunday was a prime opportunity.
A pair was continuously hunting along a roadway so I just parked and let them come to me. That is usually the best strategy for getting pics of these fast, low flyers as they will be very focused on the hunt and largely ignore you if you aren’t moving.
While the background in these images is less than ideal, it does provide a good example of the differences between the male and female. The male, aka the gray ghost, is gray and white with piercing yellow eyes. The female has more subdued earthtone coloring. Both are beautiful but the male definitely steals the show in my opinion.
Male northern harrier performs some Top Gun moves. An absolutely insane aerobatic display put on by this hawk this past weekend.
It was patrolling over a field and rather than doing the usual fast and low hunt that these raptors are known for, it was opting for a far more vertical approach. Almost like I have seen hummingbirds do, it would fly high then perform a vertical dive to the ground, pulling up at the last minute and then rocketing skyward again. When it reached the top, it actually would roll onto its back, going inverted before plummeting toward the ground again.
I have never seen a harrier do this before and when I looked at the pics and saw it upside down, I was amazed. The action was a good ways away so these images are pretty heavily cropped and not the best but it portrays some neat action. Click through them all to see the sequence.
I was recently updating my online store with some new images and came across this cool capture from last month that I never shared.
This is the same northern harrier that had been dining on a roadside rabbit. At one point it decided to get a bit of exercise before continuing its meal and in doing so, made a couple beautiful flybys.
Here, it banks hard, showing off that awesome gray plumage and those piercing yellow eyes with the Rocky Mountains serving as a backdrop. You also get a good look at the harrier’s owl-like face, a feature that helps direct sound to its ears greatly aiding its hunting ability.
Sometimes getting a meal is easier than others. Normally you will find Northern Harriers patrolling drainages, listening and watching for some unsuspecting rodent to make a meal of. They will then acrobatically drop to the ground trying to nab the critter. This is often not successful and takes multiple attempts.
It is little wonder that this male harrier opted for a much easier target, a dead rabbit alongside a remote rural road. I spotted him circling the area so set myself up a ways away, and waited. Sure enough, he flew in for a quick bite and in doing so, gave me this fun shot.
Harriers are never easy to photograph and the males, the gray ghosts as they are nicknamed, are even harder. This image gives a nice look at that beautiful white and gray plumage and those piercing yellow eyes.
Beautiful and yet vicious, whether a falcon, hawk or eagle, raptors are amazing creatures and the kings and queens of the skies. I don’t know how many different species of them I have photographed but there have been quite a few from North America’s smallest falcon, the American kestrel, to one of its biggest raptors, the gorgeous golden eagle.
Just a pretty lady against a beautiful, blue Colorado sky. I almost missed her as I was focused in the opposite direction watching some eagles. I spotted her out of the corner of my eye and quickly swung around, grabbing a sequence of her as she flew by.
These are really cool hawks but not easy to photograph due to them usually flying just above ground level making it hard to get a lock on them. Their owl-like face with stiff feathers forming a ring around their head helping to direct sound to their ears, allowing them to hunt by hearing as well as sight.
You will oftentimes find them in open land, particularly near drainages, flying low and fast with their heads down as they look and listen for prey.
While these cool hawks are in Colorado throughout the year, it is during the colder months that I most often see them. This beautiful female was hunting a field this past weekend and gave me some nice shots as she flew by.
These raptors are pretty cool with an owl-like face with stiff feathers forming a ring around their head helping to direct sound to their ears, allowing them to hunt by hearing as well as sight. You will oftentimes find them in open land, particularly near drainages, flying low and fast with their heads down as they look and listen for prey.