Well, I Don’t See THIS Every Day…

To set the stage: My mother called me this morning, but I was too comatose to even hear the phone at 8am.  I’ve been REALLY sick with bronchitis and a sinus infection and have barely been able to wander to the fridge to get at drink without having to sleep for an hour afterwards.  The Viking had to work this morning – his 13th consecutive day.  He woke me up about 10am when he got home and we had coffee and began the “second workday” here at home.  He went out to the garage for a minute and came back in – very excited.  “Grab your camera! – there’s a really big bird of prey out on top of Frank (our neighbor’s) tool shed.”  Alas, by the time I got the telephoto lens on and out the door (I’m still stuck in slo-mo and get short of breath) the bird had disappeared.  Mom called back just then. “Hey” she says,  “there was a big hawk or a juvenile eagle  hanging out on top of your swing-set this morning, I called but you didn’t pick up.”  “B. saw him”, I said “but we didn’t get back out in time to get any pictures”.  There’s a lot of rabbits and small birds in the area so  I think it might stick around she said. She’s the resident bird expert; so I defer to her.   Shortly before 5 pm my Viking was out in the driveway when I heard him say intensely and quietly through the porch window.  “Get your camera and get out here NOW – its across the street.”  Fortunately I’d left the camera on the kitchen table.and had set the f stop and shutter speed when I’d gone out in the morning.  And Voila!  There he (or she – I have no idea) was in all its gor-geous-ity.

Hello Beautiful!

Apparently we weren’t quiet enough because it swooped off low and slow, back down into Franks yard and then strangely, headed low and straight towards us.  Those pics are blurry, because I still have no idea what I’m doing shooting wildlife on the move, but we were also more interested in  ducking at that moment.  It has a wingspan of at least 4 feet, and some seriously sharp hardware at the end of its legs.

It flew down around the pine trees in the yard next door and then came right at us, the second picture is blurry but you can see how low it was (a wingtip)  I was behind the car (the blue blur), ducking. In the third picture the guy driving the car was completely flabbergasted.

It looped around and flew off, up into a group of trees just down the street. I crept down and got a few more shots before it decided it was outta here.  What a thrill!  I took all shots with a shutter speed of 1/500 and an F-Stop of 7.1.

Mr (or Ms) Pinstripe Suit, Lord or Mistress of All Surveyed.

Hangin Around

Peace, out!


26 thoughts on “Well, I Don’t See THIS Every Day…

  1. Living in the woods, we have resident hawks. They started nesting about 1/2 mile away a few years ago and would ride the thermal currents during the summer. They have stayed around and either moved closer, or sent their off-spring to nest in the hallow east of our cabin. We see them often, though our ducks do not like them cruising through the garden and fields. Our cameras are never near when they visit. Nice photos.

  2. I’m in awe. What a handsome chap and how thrilled you must have been to have been able to capture these shots!!! I hope you’re feeling a bit better. Speedy recovery and a big hug. Did you get my private email address so I can be sure of getting your emails. Thinking of you and your loved ones often. Sharon

    • Yes I did get it, thanks! Our chap may actually be a lass! Big, big bird and the females are usually bigger than the boys. After doing some research, and chatting online, it may be an older sub adult – eyes are no longer yellow. And it doesn’t have the characteristic red tail. It might also be an adult “morph” or sub species. Either way, I’m thrilled she’s around! Great, beautiful, natural pest control!!! Feeling better and back to work today. Right now I’m on lunch.

  3. Beautiful pictures. We actually had a couple of hawks nesting in a pine tree in our backyard earlier this summer. The two adults ventured all over the yard for a few weeks, and my son and I could also hear the chicks way up in the nest. My wife is a city girl who developed an unnatural fear of all birds after watching that Hitchcock film as a kid. So he steered clear of the yard during that time frame. Then one day we didn’t hear the chicks anymore. The parents hung around a week or so and seemed to be searching. Then they disappeared as well. We never figured out how many chicks there might have been or what happened.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing and I hope the respiratory troubles clear up.

  4. Great pictures!! Thanks for sharing. We get some hawks and the occasional owl. They like the rabbits we see from time to time, but we are not as quick on the draw with the camera. Well done.

    • Thank you! Living with an aspiring photographer keeps me on my toes. She always says have a camera ready… But I need some serious experience with shooting movement. I was way off base trying to track it with the camera. Hopefully I will get more tries!

      • How did you decide which f/stop and shutter speed to use? I only ask because I usually use a lower f/stop and higher shutter speed when shooting moving things. I usually put the f/stop right down to about 4. Though 500 is quite high…(and I’m assuming you have much more experience than me)

        But my camera is…poop. It is good for learning with but I see pics that other people take and know I could do so much more with even just a few more pixels.

        • It’s hit or miss with me. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but refuse to set my Canon Rebel to automatic. I set a lower shutter speed due to the overcast gloomy conditions. Could have gone with a lower f stop though. I was frankly amazed the pics came out as well as they did. I also had it set for continuous shooting but when it flew at us I lost track of it when ducking. Then the only editing I did was cropping. My cameras a pretty low end dslr, good for a beginner like me. My oldest is quite a good photographer, works a lot with Jeremy Saffer. I pick her brain when I can.

          • I had a course in university and I can take some decent pics (my facebook profile pic from a few weeks ago was a self portrait) but yeah, I still feel rusty whenever I start fumbling with the dials, even when I know exactly what I am going for. I have a canon rebel dslr too 🙂 but it is an older used model because I’m one of those kids who put themselves through uni….I’ll upgrade someday.

          • It’s probably the same model I use. And for similar reasons. 😉 My daughter tells me the only way to learn to take good pictures is to keep taking pictures, and playing around with settings to understand what they do. Thankfully there is a delete button, so no money wasted on developing bad pics, lol.

  5. Such a beautiful bird. My wife and I take pictures of them quite often when we walk the local levee. Your pics are very nice! I hope you get to see him more often, and get to know how they are. Those birds have such peculiar ways about them, and we enjoy learning about how they relate to their world.

    • Thank you! Do you know what breed of hawk it is? S/he was definitely a thrilling sight. We’ve seen bald eagles, ospreys and falcons around here occasionally, the turkey vultures frequently, but none ever THIS close. Thanks for writing! Have a great weekend!

  6. Great shots, looks like the hawks that are very common here, especially for the brown feathers and white under the wings, but I’m no bird expert, either. They fly low in the mornings, but will soar higher and higher as the temperature rises and they ride the thermals.

    Sadly, see a few as road kill. Lots of dead squirrels on the roads, (we’re overrun with them) and the hawks come done to dine, often hit by the cars as they are slow to get airborne.

    Thanks for sharing, hope you feel better.

    • Yes, I know what you mean. There’s a lot of squirrels and rabbits in the area and the bird is slow to get going. There’s bald eagles along the river, but I don’t think it’s an eagle.

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