Immature Rough-legged Hawk – Lift Off, Landing & Lunch

/, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Rough-legged Hawks, Utah/Immature Rough-legged Hawk – Lift Off, Landing & Lunch
Immature Rough-legged Hawk lifting off from a nest box

Immature Rough-legged Hawk lifting off from a nest box – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

Yesterday morning I was able to photograph an immature Rough-legged Hawk lifting off, landing and lunching at Farmington Bay WMA in northern Utah. When I first started to photograph the young hawk I had my teleconverter on but when it looked like it might take flight I removed the teleconverter so that I would reduce the chances of clipping the bird’s wings when it did lift of from the kestrel nest box. I’m glad I did remove the teleconverter because I have a very nice series of this lift off.

I love how in this frame the Rough-legged Hawk’s talons are still just barely touching the nest box as well as the beautiful view of the underside of the hawk’s wings.

Immature Rough-legged Hawk's pin point landing on nest box

Immature Rough-legged Hawk’s pin point landing on nest box – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

I have a lovely series of images after the lift off while this immature hawk was in flight that I will try to post later but after a thirteen image post yesterday I didn’t want to bog down too many devices again today.

I thought since I had a wonderful lift off photo where the bird’s talons were just about to leave the nest box that it might be neat to have a photo of the immature Rough-legged Hawk making a pin point landing on the same nest box where two talons were touching the nest box and a great landing pose with the other talons about to grasp the top of the nest box.

Immature Rough-legged Hawk in flight with prey

Immature Rough-legged Hawk in flight with prey – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I attached my teleconverter to take more images of the bird as it perched on top of the nest box scanning the fields in search of prey, when it lifted again off I did clip the wings in many of the photos but since it wasn’t facing me I didn’t feel too bad about my choice. The Rough-legged Hawk found prey on this flight and turned towards the nest box with the vole firmly grasped in its talons. I didn’t have time to remove my teleconverter so I just hoped for the best as the bird flew directly towards the nest box again. I took several photos of it flying towards the nest box then quickly pre-focused on the nest box in anticipation of the hawk landing there to eat the prey it had captured.

Immature Rough-legged Hawk on nest box with lunch

Immature Rough-legged Hawk on nest box with lunch – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I’m glad I left the teleconverter on and pre-focused on the nest box because I have another nice series of this immature Rough-legged Hawk landing with its prey and I didn’t clip a single wing tip at that. I believe the vole may have been alive at this point in time because at full resolution I can see a catch light in its eye even though hawk has a death grip on it.

It was great to observe this immature Rough-legged Hawk through my viewfinder yesterday and to photograph it while it went about it’s daily life. I really, really love what do.

Life is good.

Mia

11 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte December 19, 2017 at 11:07 am

    The 1st and 2nd pics in this series are really great. But I think the 2nd shot, in particular, is a show-stopper. And, as always, I love your captions. There’s so much to learn from your commentary. Very cool. Thanks Mia.

  2. Ken Schneider December 18, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Wonderful images and very interesting description of your technique. I would find it bothersome to take the teleconverter on and off, but honestly never tried it in the field. Needless to say I have lots of clipped wings!

  3. Laura Culley December 16, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Lovely series, but I’m a raptorphile, proud and true…LOL! I especially love it when they’re eating well AND doing their civic duty in keeping the rodent population under control! Yeah, these are GORGEOUS shots!

  4. Burrdoo December 16, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Gorgeous shots Mia – great timing!

  5. Elephants Child December 16, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Yet another amazing series. With bonus britches.

  6. M. Bruce December 16, 2017 at 11:12 am

    No surprise Mia, you’re a master at such things. Really wonderful shots!

  7. Dennis December 16, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Beautiful shots, Mia. However, I did have to chuckle when I opened your blog because I photographed this same hawk hunting from the same Kestrel nesting box two days earlier. They really stick around when prey is abundant. A gorgeous bird and fun to watch.

  8. sallie reynolds December 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Mia, the catch light would still be in the vole’s eye a bit after death, as long as the orb was still moist. I once photographed a dead California Quail – the light in the eye made me think it was alive, but it wasn’t.

  9. Patty Chadwick one of my favorite birds December 16, 2017 at 7:44 am

    A beautiful series…I especially like the second shot…so very graceful….

  10. steven kessel December 16, 2017 at 6:41 am

    Marvelous! We almost never see these beautiful hawks in southern Arizona. I’ve been searching for one for nearly six years without success. Great images.

  11. Mary Martha Murphy December 16, 2017 at 6:27 am

    AND you can really see the ‘rough’ legs! Great photography, Mia. Thanks for the bog.

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