Red-tailed Hawk in flight near the Oquirrh MountainsRed-tailed Hawk in flight near the Oquirrh Mountains – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 500, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 350mm, natural light, not baited

One great bird can make a day or even an entire trip worthwhile and this particular Red-tailed Hawk photographed in Utah County has made two days wonderful so far. You can see more images of it here. Finding raptors close enough to photograph this winter has been difficult and it has been frustrating. The location where this Red-tailed Hawk was photographed has the Oquirrh Mountains in the background which adds visual appeal beyond the plain blue sky I often get when photographing raptors in flight.

Two days ago it was a little more difficult for me to spot this hawk for us to photograph primarily because two very skittish Rough-legged Hawks had moved into its territory. The Roughies were so skittish that if we even slowed down near them they took off but the Red-tailed was a bit more cooperative. It didn’t even flinch when huge gravel trucks would rumble by, it was far more intent on hunting.

It was wonderful to see this Red-tailed through my viewfinder.