Bald Eagle, Sangre De Cristo Mountain Snows

Bald Eagle, with a backdrop of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains covered in snow. With such a commanding view it’s no wonder we’ve seen this raptor, numerous times, at this location. It’s also a great place to stop and admire the view for ourselves. If we’re fortunate we may see this bird again next week on a return trip to the area. Thanks for looking. G

Bald Eagle, Sangre De Cristo Mountain Snows

Rough-Legged Hawk, Monte Vista Wild Life Refuge

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

Rough-Legged Hawk, Monte Vista Wild Life Refuge

Bald Eagles, Pilar New Mexico

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

Bald Eagles, Pilar New Mexico

Osprey, Rio Costilla Park, NM

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

Osprey, Rio Costilla Park, NM

Monarch Of The Hay Bales

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

Monarch of the hay bales

Juvenile Swainson’s Hawk

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 Swainson's Hawk

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.