Rough-legged Hawk flying near a hill – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 285mm, natural light, not baited
This year hasn’t provided me with as many opportunities to photograph Rough-legged Hawks as last winter did and before long these raptors will be heading to the high Arctic to find mates on their breeding grounds. I thought I would share some Rough-legged Hawk images taken the winter of 2011/2012 when they were very abundant today.
The young Roughy above had been perched on a Rabbitbrush high up on a hill and when it took off I was ready to photograph it as it came flying down the hillside.
Perched Rough-legged Hawk - Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/320, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited
This Rough-legged Hawk posed nicely on a post giving me a wonderful profile view of its face that showed the sharp little bill and the wonderful plumage patterns these hawks have on their backs.
High Key lift off from sign - Nikon D300, f5.6, 1/1250, ISO 800, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 300mm, natural light, not baited
What I like about this image is how it shows how long the wings are on Rough-legged Hawks, I also enjoy the rather direct look I appear to be getting from this raptor. I wish it had been perched on a natural feature but the hawk picked where it landed, not I.
Rough-legged Hawk perched on post with Bison fur - Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/400, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited
The stuff on top of the post in this frame that looks like material from a steel wool pad is actually Bison fur with frost on it left there after a Bison used the post for a good scratch. The Rough-legged Hawk didn’t seem to mind the Bison fur or the lady with the long lens photographing it.
I’ll keep trying to photograph the Rough-legged Hawks that are still here before they head north.
More Rough-legged Hawk images
Red-tailed Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up
Today I thought I would post images of the juvenile Buteos that I see most often in Utah and Montana, they are Red-tailed, Rough-legged, Ferruginous and Swainson’s Hawks. The Red-tailed, Ferruginous and Swainson’s Hawks all breed in my area, the Rough-legged Hawks breed in the Arctic.
I photographed the young Red-tailed Hawk above during the summer in the Centennial Valley of Beaverhead County, Montana. It was a very cooperative bird and I was able to take quite a few images of it, I liked this image because of the way the raptor appeared to be staring intensely at something on the ground.
Rough-legged Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f9, 1/800, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up
This juvenile Rough-legged Hawk was also very cooperative as it preened and fluffed on Antelope Island State Park in Davis County, Utah. This bird was photographed during the winter which is the only time I see Rough-legged Hawks in Utah and Montana.
Ferruginous Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up
This young Ferruginous Hawk was photographed the same morning as the juvenile Red-tailed Hawk shown above in the Centennial Valley of Beaverhead County, Montana. The Ferruginous Hawk hasn’t gotten the rufous coloration to its feathered legs yet. I wish I had been closer to this juvenile as it appeared that some of the radiant heat rising from the road may have interfered with this image being as sharp as I wanted it or it may have been the pickup idling, I am not sure.
Swainson’s Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f8, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up
This juvenile Swainson’s Hawk was photographed in the Centennial Valley of Beaverhead County Montana too, nearby there was another juvenile and adult Swainson’s but they weren’t in good light like this young bird was.
I always, and I do mean always, feel privileged when I am in the presence of these magnificent raptors where I can observe them and their behaviors and photograph these amazing hawks.
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Chukar running in the snow
I spent the day photographing with Ron and a fellow photographer friend of ours from Arizona, Brian Gatlin. Antelope Island State Park was slow, the only images I took were of the Chukar above.
Great Blue Heron preening to remove ice
Farmington Bay WMA; on the other hand, was hopping. This Great Blue Heron; probably the same one I photographed a few days ago, was trying hard to get the ice off that had formed on the straggly part of its chest plumage.
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Then there was this juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron standing in the open water near the second bridge. It also had ice hanging from its plumage.
Rough-legged Hawk juvenile
There was also cooperative juvenile Rough-legged Hawk perched on a bush near the road.
And this lovely Barn Owl that probably couldn’t figure out why three glass lenses in the pick up were pointed at it along with one in a vehicle behind us. The bird obviously doesn’t know it has Star Power.
A wonderful fun-filled day with great companionship and plenty of birds. I can’t ask for more.
Rough-legged Hawk perched on a mile marker post – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 1000, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 321mm, natural light, not baited
The temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing color, mornings are getting frosty and snow is starting to fall in the high country. These things remind me that old Man Winter is about to arrive and along with him the Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus) will soon appear.
Last winter was awesome for seeing Rough-legged Hawks and I am hoping they had another great breeding season and that they will show up here in large numbers to over winter. Most of the Rough-legged Hawks I saw and photographed last year were juveniles, I’d sure like to see more adults this winter.
The juvenile above was perched on a mile marker along the causeway to Antelope Island State Park, I sure wish the post had been a natural perch.
Rough-legged Hawk – Nikon D300, f9, 1/800, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited
Photographing Rough-legged Hawks last winter was so much fun because they were so numerous, some mornings I would see more than 25 in just a couple of hours.
Will this year bring us as many Rough-legged Hawks to the Salt Lake Valley? That remains to be seen of course but I’ve been hearing reports of them getting closer to arrival.
I can’t wait!
More Rough-legged Hawk images
This Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) was photographed this past winter at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area in northern Utah.
Rough-legged Hawk – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 350mm, natural light, not baited
Rough-legged Hawks breed in the Arctic so we don’t see them around here in the summer.
I didn’t notice until after I published “Birds of Antelope Island” yesterday that it was my 400th post on this blog. This blog has been visited by people from 154 countries since I started writing it. It is awesome to reach out and touch so many viewers from so many locations!
More Rough-legged Hawk images