As I do every year, I sit down and pick my personal ‘top 25’ of each of my photo subjects from my previous photo year (Oct – Sept). For the first of these, let’s start with raptors – falcons, hawks and eagles. These impressive masters of the sky oftentimes donate my photography and it is easy to see why.
Having fun with P’s for that title. 😉
This awesome raptor has been a bit of a fixture in one of the places I frequent and it has become quite comfortable with being watched. On this day last week, it sat and gave me some nice poses.
You can tell it is relaxed in that it has its right leg tucked up to its chest, probably to keep it warm. When birds do this, it is a good sign that they are okay with you and aren’t in any rush to go anywhere. If that talon comes down though, you can bet they are getting ready to go.
These cool raptors can be found in Colorado year-round but I most often see them in the winter. In recent weeks one has been pretty consistently hanging out in a spot I drive often on my outings and it has given me some pretty cool captures.
Most recently, on New Year’s Day, I spotted it on a pole. It was in no mood for pictures though, perhaps it was suffering a hangover from the night before. 😉
I managed a couple quick shots of it posing and then it made a dramatic dive and headed off to parts unknown. Prairie falcons usually prey on small mammals like mice and voles but will sometimes opt for smaller birds. I have seen one dine on a western meadowlark before.
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.
A fun encounter on Thanksgiving Day with this not-often-seen raptor.
I was out for a morning photo excursion and spotted it on a post. After giving me some nice poses, it launched into the air, coming toward me at some unseen, unsuspecting prey.
Heavily overcast skies made for some tough shooting conditions and light was at a premium but it was fun to see this guy / gal and grab some captures. I like falcons better than turkey anyway. 😉
Saturday I posted a photo slideshow of this encounter and promised I would later post some individual pics of the action shown in it. Here you go. These give you a closer look at some of the incredible action that took place. I definitely would recommend checking out the slideshow here too if you haven’t.
Well, this was one awesome encounter! I happened across this young female northern harrier as it was eating some rabbit leftovers.
As I was photographing it, the harrier suddenly leaped into the air and out of nowhere a prairie falcon appears and tries to steal the rabbit! It wasn’t successful on the first attempt so it circled for a second try, pulling up at the last minute.
The falcon was not done though. It circled for a third and final try and this time, success! As it flew off with the rabbit remains, it began to lose its grip, eventually dropping the meal to the ground. The thief decided it was all too much effort and continued on, giving up, while the harrier flew over and was able to finish its meal in peace.
While some of the pics aren’t all that great, it was a ton of fun to see. As there were so many pics to tell the story, I figured a video slideshow would be the best way to present them. Best viewed full screen. I will share some of the standalone images later today.
One from yesterday on what was a bone-chilling cold morning on the plains. The temperature didn’t bother this raptor though as it circled a field, looking for a meal.
Usually these guys are pretty skittish but this one was kind enough to give me a few nice flybys. As it circled, I was really hoping it would find something to eat but it was not to be, at least not while I watched. Given the cold, I wasn’t going to linger around either. 😉
These guys are fast-movers and not ones to normally let you get a flight shot. Thankfully, this one cooperated a bit recently giving me a few shots as it flew by at Mach 1. 😉
Prairie falcons are quite common on the plains this time of year. I usually see them perched on utility poles, ready to attack some poor, unsuspecting rodent or little bird.
I’ve watched them dive into groups of horned larks and meadowlarks with amazing speed and agility, snatching their victim right out of the air. Way cool to see!
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.