Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A moment of raptor...

The weekend trip to the Wilds provided a lot of opportunities for socializing, some botanizing, those coveted views of the odd rhino and takin, but primarily we were there for the birding. Fortunately we had some "fully loaded" photographers on-board as well. You'll soon see why I am called a "Weedpicker" and not a "Photo-clicker". Look at the first frame in the last blog post, and compare it to this one, virtually the identical scene:

A Red-shouldered Hawk through the camera lens of Dane Adams. Dane captured this immature Red-shouldered with some amazing frames, which will allow us to study the youngster. First off, the posture threw my ID off a bit. When we arrived on the scene, I assumed this bird perched tip-top of a tree like a Christmas tree ornament was going to be a Rough-legged Hawk. But the size seemed a bit small.

It took a couple of looks, and some general prompting from Tom Bartlett, to realise this was an immature bird with a streaked chest and a general lack of rufous highlight on the shoulders. But that will all change with age, and he will soon take on the more familiar coloring of an adult Red-Shoulder.

And when Red-shoulders fly, look for the white crescents of "windows" on the bases of the primaries (toward the wing-tips.) Dane's excellent photo captures this feature mid-flight.

Fully extended, a hunting machine becomes airborne. We see birds in flight everyday, but something about these freeze-frames portrays the combination of the physics and beauty of a bird aloft.
Breath-taking! Thanks to Dane Adams for sharing these great photos.

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