Friday Photos – Yes, another Rough-legged Hawk

/, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, Rough-legged Hawks, Utah/Friday Photos – Yes, another Rough-legged Hawk

Perched Rough-legged HawkPerched Rough-legged Hawk  – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Yesterday I had an opportunity to photograph this Rough-legged Hawk from a higher vantage point than I am used to when photographing this species, I was on a road that was higher than the shrub that the hawk was perched on. For a few minutes the hawk was calmly looking around the area, I could tell that it was searching for prey because it kept looking around on the ground.

Rough-legged Hawk with wings up Rough-legged Hawk with wings up –  Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

By observing this bird’s behavior I was able to anticipate when it would lift off. One of the first indications that the Rough-legged Hawk was getting ready to take off is that it defecated, which raptors often do prior to taking to the air.  At that point I started to get ready for the hawk to take flight by checking my shutter speed, my exposure compensation and my depth of field. I could tell the hawk was focused on something on the hillside below where I was when I saw the bird’s wings start to raise.

Rough-legged with an eye on preyRough-legged with an eye on prey – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The hawk’s eyes were locked on its possible prey as it lifted off from its perch, I was fortunate that the prey was somewhere below me and I was able to maintain eye contact from the bird.

A Rough-legged Hawk spread eagleA Rough-legged Hawk spread eagle – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The hawk continued to keep its eyes on the prey. I like how the “rough legs” are very visible in this photo.

Rough-legged Hawk in flight near the Antelope Island MarinaRough-legged Hawk in flight near the Antelope Island Marina –  Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

By the time I took this image the Rough-legged Hawk was fully in flight. It dipped a bit lower in altitude after this frame and I temporarily lost focus.

Rough-legged Hawk fly byRough-legged Hawk fly by – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The Rough-legged Hawk must have lost sight of its intended prey when I lost focus because in the next few frames the hawk was no longer looking in the same direction it had been in my previous photos and it turned towards my left and continued to fly in the direction until I lost sight of the hawk.

I can relate to the hawk in a way, just like it doesn’t always get the prey it is intent on, I don’t always get the shots I want.

Mia

8 Comments

  1. Jim Hackley December 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Wonderful series showing the wing positions during take off, excellent shots.
    Jim

    • Mia McPherson December 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks Jim, I always appreciate your comments.

  2. Dan Huber December 12, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Superb images Mia, so jealous 🙂

    dan

    • Mia McPherson December 12, 2011 at 7:50 am

      Thank you Dan, they are such handsome Hawks!

  3. Bob Zeller December 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    You may not have got the one that you wanted, but the ones that you did get are magnificent, Mia.

    • Mia McPherson December 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm

      Thank you Bob, I was happy with the shots I got and I hope to have many more opportunities with the Rough-legged Hawks before they head back to the north.

  4. Robert December 10, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Awesome!

    • Mia McPherson December 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      Thank you very much Robert!

Comments are closed.