Since my last post about Rough-legged Hawks I have been able to find and photograph more of these handsome raptors. The Rough-legged Hawk above made a close fly by and I was able to get several images of it as it did so. At first I thought it was a gull when it was at a distance but I soon realized it was a Rough-legged and paced my shots so that my buffer would not fill up.
The wingspan on Rough-legged Hawks is larger than I realized at 53 inches. The Rough-legged Hawks I have seen recently have beautiful colors, from dark chocolate browns, creamy butterscotch to pale creams. I have read that these hawks are silent except for when they are on their breeding grounds, I can say I’ve never heard one make a sound here in Utah.
Rough-legged Hawks hover when they are hunting prey, it is really a wonderful sight to see. They also seem to “plummet” when they are descending on their prey by partially closing the wings, it is quite different from a dive or a stoop.
I didn’t have the best of light when I photographed the Rough-legged Hawk above and the bird’s tail feathers and rump were damp which caused those to be a touch ratty looking, but I sure liked the wing position in this shot. I hope to get another lift off series where a Roughie is on a natural or more appealing perch.
A few days later I was able to photographed this Rough-legged Hawk while it sat on a fence post. My Exposure compensation was up a bit too high because I’d been photographing this hawk in the sky before it landed but I was able to bring the exposure down in post processing so that the whites weren’t blown out.
After the hawk left this perch it dropped down on the ground not far from the post and I took some would-have-been wonderful frame filling shots of it on the ground except for the fence that was between the bird and I. Being a bird photographer can be frustrating that way.
I photographed this Rough-legged Hawk two days ago while in Tooele County looking for raptors to photograph, it had landed in a field close by. I zoomed back so that I could get a lift off shot without clipping the wings, perhaps I zoomed back just a little too much, but I’m very fond of images that show birds in their natural habitat and this one does that quite well.
I have been very pleased to add so many images of Rough-legged Hawks to my portfolio in just the past week and hopefully these hawks will stick around until late February of next year so there will be many more opportunities.