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
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
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
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.
Great Horned Owl Fledgelings 4978
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.
American Kestrel. What can I say about this spritely little fellow, seen here hunting prey of beetles, crickets, other sundry bugs and small rodents along the fence line on the Hondo Mesa, Taos NM. I am always happy to stop to watch and photograph these colorful hawks.
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.
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