Sunday, November 11, 2012

Red-tailed Hawks! - 09 Nov 2012

Another mild and sunny afternoon made a trip to Pt. Mouillee HQ worthwhile.  After work I headed down to Campau Rd. to check out the HQ and parking lot area and Huron River mouth.  A Red-tailed Hawk was perched on the side of the road to my right, so getting any photos would require getting out of the car.  I pulled ahead of the bird about 30 yds. then got out.  Immediately it took off, flying low along the road past me and into the trees on my left.  As it passed in front of the late afternoon sun I had to settle for some nice silhouette shots and some soft, dark photos.  Still, I'm very intrigued by the low-light photos of it flying into the heavily wooded background.

A male Northern Harrier (gray ghost) passed over the road just ahead of the car as I drove into HQ, but was too far away to anything but admire w/ the binoculars.  The HQ and parking lot area was void of birds, so I headed over to Harbin Rd. to see if any shorebirds were still present.  About 2-dozen Dunlin and 2-dozen Killdeer were out on the mudflats a 100 yds away.  A single Pectoral Sandpiper was there, as well.

From there I headed south toward the Rockwood Quarry.  A Great Blue Heron perched in the trees next to Rheaume Rd. was nicely illuminated by the late afternoon sun. I saw more American Tree Sparrows near the corner of Roberts Rd.  As I sat there watching them another Northern Harrier appeared over the dump.  It was then followed by two more (juvenile/female types) and the three birds soared up and down the hillside looking for prey.  The male passed in my area close enough for a very long-distance photo w/ the 300/2.8 VRII.

As I headed back down Roberts Rd. I spotted another Red-tailed Hawk alongside the road.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker was chattering loudly, so it was intent on the source of the call.  I managed a couple of photos from inside the car before it noticed me, hopped to a slightly higher perch, then flew off toward more shadows.

As I was heading for home I stopped at the corner of Gibraltar Rd. and Fort St. and saw a nice adult Red-tailed in the trees about 50 yds. away.  With all of the traffic buzzing by I grabbed the scope and managed to approach it from behind a telephone pole and get some digiscoped images in the fading light.   It stayed there as I got back in the car and headed for home.

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