Red-Tailed Hawk, Arroyo Hondo

Red-Tailed Hawk, Arroyo Hondo, NM. Every now and then I like to revisit Poet Laureate Ted Hughes Poem, “Hawk Roosting” You can read it below. Thanks for looking. G

Red-Tailed Hawk, Arroyo Hondo

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

The convenience of the high trees!
The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth’s face upward for my inspection.

My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly –
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads –

The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:

The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.

 — Ted Hughes

Great Horned Owl Fledglings

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.

Great Horned Owl fledgelings

Great Horned Owl Fledgelings 4978


Swainson’s Hawks And Golden Eagle

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.

Swainson's Hawks and golden eagle

Below are two more images from this day in Colorado.

Swainson's Hawks and golden eagle

 

Swainson's Hawks and golden eagleAnd you are out of here!

Raptor Nest In The San Luis Valley, Colorado.

Raptor nest in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Although this tree has fallen and the nest is close to the ground, from time to time, I come across images that remind me of what a great location this is. Over the many years that I’ve conducted photo tours in this area my guests really respond to it’s location, it’s serenity and vastness. Here is another view of the nest on a winters night when we made a trip there under the full moon.

Raptor nest bare tree hawk nest in colorado

“It’s mine, I killed it and now I’m going to eat it!”

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

Merlin, Prairie or Richardson's Merlin, Falcon

Morning Hawk

Hawk red-tailed hawk
Morning Hawk, Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico. I drive through Arroyo Hondo in the mornings and nine times out of ten this hawk is present in an old cottonwood.  I pull over to watch and it seems to say “good morning” in it’s own inimitable way. It gets alert after a while of observation, perhaps a little antsy, raises it’s tail feathers, defecates to lighten the load and lifts off. The routine is constant, not just for this raptor, but also for the bald eagles and many other raptors I’ve photographed over the years. I thought you’d like to know that so when you are watching a hawk or eagle, you’ll know the moment it is about to lift of. That’s it. Thanks for looking.

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk on a cold and frosty morning, NM Highway 150. I was heading into my gallery in Arroyo Seco on my morning commute. I often spot hawks on fence posts, power poles, or in a dead tree as in this case. Power poles provide the hawk with a vantage point, it’s true, but there is something un-romantic about a ridged post with a transformer constantly humming and wires everywhere ruining the picture. Maybe, secretly, the raptor likes that sort of thing. Well… when I spotted this bird in all it’s pristine glory, bathed in morning sunlight, I had to pull over and make an image. Thanks for looking. G

Hawk Nest And Ute Mountain

hawk nest ute mountain colorado
After numerous years, the tree and Swainson’s Hawk’s nest near Ute Mountain on the plateau has finally succumbed to the elements. The nest, were it not for the fact that it is now three feet above the ground and within reach of predators, would have lasted for many more generations of raptors. The structure of the nest is bound together with an armature of barbed and bailing wire. I expect to see the tree disintegrate around it while the nest remains a reminder of what once was.