Rough-legged Hawk, yesterday at the Monte Vista Wild Life Refuge, southern Colorado. Was it ever cold yesterday. It didn’t seem to bother this raptor. Apparently it was also unperturbed by us. The bird sat on this post long after we left. It was a battle of wits. Once it lifted off and alighted on the next power pole, stretched it’s wings, settled back in, rotating it’s head, ignoring us just a few feet below in the snow. Thoroughly bored with us. We felt the vibe. Yesterdays count was a Golden Eagle, a Bald Eagle, and Swainson’s Hawk, a Northern Harrier, a Red-tailed Hawk, two of these Rough-legged Hawk beauties and a Coyote. Later on the drive home a large flock of Canada Geese, heading south, wheeled over the highway and head east towards the mountains. Despite the cold it was a gorgeous sunny day. I love my job. Join me on a winter photo tour! As always thanks for looking. G
Bald Eagles, on the Rio Grande in Pilar, New Mexico. Well… my heart always skips a beat when driving through the canyon, south of Pilar, and we spot a pair of eagles in a dead juniper. These two were on the west bank of the river. It was very special to see so many cars pull over and people get out and sit on the guardrail to watch in awe. Time out of one’s day well spent. Here’s another shot of a Bald Eagle in the same vicinity a few years ago. Thanks for looking. G
Osprey, Rio Costilla Park, northern NM. I’ve seen this bird here a couple of times over the last few weeks. Today it played tag with us on the Rio Costilla. At one point we lost sight of it. As we drove west, scrutinizing the cliffs, the high sun suddenly cast this raptors shadow onto the sun roof, across the hood and down the road ahead of us. The game was back on. When we caught sight of it again it had alighted on a snag, just off camera in this shot. Soon thereafter, something other than us grabbed it’s attention, which was when I made this image. Thank you so much for your attention. G
Monarch of the hay bales, San Luis Valley. I firmly believe this is a Swainson’s Hawk, as it wasn’t sporting a red tail in the the next few shots after it lifted off and soared to the west. These bales were a field of wheat a week ago. This raptor didn’t waste any time ensconcing itself on the highest vantage point in it’s dominion of the farms and fields in the San Luis Valley. Thanks for looking. G
Juvenile Swainson’s Hawk, San Luis Valley Colorado. This young bird had a lot to say, one of many raptors on a photo tour in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Hearing a hawk screaming is powerful and resonates long after the echo’s of the screeching fades. It stirs up the senses like something known and recognizable from our ancient past. It’s that way for me. Thanks for looking. G
Juvenile Bald Eagle and Grackle. Here we are in the Bosque del Apache, in the middle of December, south of Socorro, NM where the temps are in the fifties, with a chilling wind that makes our fingers hurt, but we are quite content to stand and watch this scene of the young bald and the grackle ignore each other. The grackle minded it’s own business and the eagle paid attention to everything but the grackle such as geese and hawks and cranes. Thanks for looking. G
A Red-tailed Hawk guarding it’s nest gave us quite a display above and beyond. We wanted to get a few photographs of the hawk as it circled over us and for a few go rounds we made some images. It’s wonderful to watch and make images of these amazing aerial acrobats but stress affects us all, so we moved on. Thanks for looking. G
Great Horned Owl fledgelings. On a private photography workshop this weekend we spent two days photographing raptors in southern Colorado. We discovered these two exquisite Great Horned Owl fledgelings on the second day which for us topped the previous day with the hawks and eagle altercation. This scene seemed a fitting moment and conclusion to a wonderful trip, that re-enforces the great continuum and absolute balance of nature.
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Yesterday’s Hawks and Golden Eagle. These two Swainson’s hawks were defending their nest from imminent danger from the Golden Eagle. The altercation didn’t last very long, it amounted to about a dozen frames on the camera, until they chased the eagle off.
Below are two more images from this day in Colorado.
Swainson’s Hawk, San Luis Valley, Colorado. We stumbled across this beautiful creature and made a few images as it let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I was encroaching on it’s nesting territory. There were many hawks this day and any approach seemed to entice them from the nest, to abandon the chicks in order to distract us intruders. We moved on and left them to their familial duties. Thanks for looking. G
Merlin. “It’s mine, I killed it and now I’m going to eat it!” I made this image yesterday on my way home from my gallery in Arroyo Seco. I spotted the raptor on the fence post as I drove along. I pulled over, reversed about 100 feet and wound down my window. I said to myself, ‘that’s a male Merlin falcon, perhaps a juvenile’. I stopped about 20 feet away and while I was changing lenses I observed the Merlin tear at a dead bird’s chest … at least I’m pretty sure it was dead. I made about a dozen images, each, very much like this one. A few minutes later when a pickup came whipping by me, scaring the Merlin, the raptor took off clenching it’s prey. This evening I wrote to my friend Jean-Luc Catron, author of Raptors of New Mexico to confirm my ID of the bird. This is his reply … “What a beautiful photo!! You are right, it is a merlin, and because of the muted facial markings I can also say that it belongs to the subspecies richardsonii (prairie or Richardson’s merlin). It is a male because of the blue gray dorsal plumage”. Thank you Jean-Luc. Thank you for looking. G