Red-tailed Hawk immediately after lift offRed-tailed Hawk immediately after lift off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, +1.0 Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 350mm, natural light, not baited

The sun was shining yesterday. Hooray!  I actually saw and photographed some birds. Yippee! One of the birds I photographed yesterday was this handsome Red-tailed Hawk that I spotted in a tree at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. I didn’t have much time to get ready for when the hawk lifted off from the tree because of road traffic, just two test shots to check for exposure and the Red-tail took flight. I like this image because it shows that trademark red tail, the hawk’s talons, the patagial mark on the leading edge of the wing and a great look at the hawk’s eye.

Red-tailed Hawk on a winter dayRed-tailed Hawk on a winter day – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, +1.3 Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

After the first lift off the Red-tail headed for a post, then perched on top of a kestrel nest box where the kestrel dive-bombed it several times before the kestrel gave up. The Red-tailed Hawk then dove at some prey in the grasses and devoured it in two gulps, unfortunately there was vegetation in the way so I didn’t get any clear shots of that action. The hawk then lifted off from the snow-covered ground and flew back to the nest box before it finally flew towards the north.

It felt good to have birds close enough in my viewfinder again. It has been a long, dry spell and photographing a Red-tailed Hawk on a winter day made me happy.