Friday, December 4, 2009

Half a Dozen

Despite a morning with single digit temps the sun was out today. I got an early start, and with good weather had plenty of time to swing by Stearn's Lake on my way into work.

I was hoping for the scene above and got it. A small area of still open water that had the geese concentrated in a relatively small area. Even better, it was on the close side of the lake to the trail, allowing close looks from behind a tree. Unfortunately, there were no Snow or Ross's Geese present yet. Soon perhaps, but well worth a periodic quick check.

While there were no uncommon Geese, there were Red-tailed Hawks. As indicated by the title, I had six individuals split between my drive along the dirt road to the lake and my walk. I am fairly confident that it is my highest count total for individuals in such a short span in one location.

There is something about a Hawk surveying the area from a high perch that just fits with a cold morning.

A closer crop, showing the lighter colored eyes and tail banding of this juvenile bird. (For contrast note the brown-eyed adult in the top picture).

Here, primed for takeoff, the patagial bars on the leading edge of the under-wing are clearly visible.

Then, with a wingbeat, a pump of the fully fanned tail, and a thrust of the legs this young Red-tail is aloft! With so many neighbors about he/she will need an early start to get breakfast. From my visit to the hawkwatch at Dinosaur Ridge last spring I know that as waves of migrants pass through periodic numbers can easily spike for a certain area. In this case most individuals were spaced out amongst the various tree clusters, with no more than two individuals in any particular area. It was a fun first to see so many of those clusters occupied on this chilly, and therefore very private morning with the hawks.

1 comment:

  1. that was a good morning. I love the gathering of ducks and geese. Nice shot! Love seeing the hawks too.