Dark morph Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk juvenile with an American Coot
I haven’t had many opportunities to photograph the Harlan’s subspecies of the Red-tailed Hawk so I was thrilled yesterday when I spotted a juvenile dark morph Harlan’s Hawk feeding on a dead American Coot on the bank of a creek. There were coot feathers all over the snow and the juvenile Harlan’s didn’t seem bothered by our presence as it kept feeding on its prey.
A pile of feathers and a Harlan’s Hawk
This was a real treat for me to see this bird up close, observe its behavior and to be able to photograph it. Harlan’s are a dark subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk and typically I see far fewer of them than western Red-tailed Hawks.
Harlan’s Hawk juvenile
I was able to get a couple hundred images of this young raptor while it fed on the coot.
Harlan’s lifting off with prey
Then another vehicle that had passed by the pickup backed up to see what we were photographing and that was too much for the Harlan’s comfort so it grasped the coot in its talons…
Juvenile Harlan’s flying away with an American Coot
And flew away to finish its meal in peace.
*All images were taken with a Nikon D300, f8, ISO’s of between 400 to 500, shutter speeds between 1/1250 and 1600, +0.3 EV, a Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited, set up or called in. The Harlan’s provided its own meal.
Dancing dark morph Reddish Egret – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light
These two Reddish Egrets; a dark and a white morph, were photographed on the same day at Fort De Soto’s north beach in May of 2009 and both of them were showing signs of being in breeding plumage. This dark morph wasn’t quite in full breeding plumage because the bill would be pinker and the lores a deeper blue if it were but it was close. Dark morphs are far more common than white morphs and I felt lucky to photograph both morphs on the same day.
I photographed this Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) in a tidal lagoon while sitting in the water as the bird danced around me on the hunt for prey. My Nikkor 80-400mm VR was off being repaired so that day I was using my Nikkor 70-300mm VR for all the bird images I took. This egret was so busy hunting that it paid me no mind at all as it rushed around the lagoon. There were a few times I thought the bird was going to run right into me.
I like the bird’s pose, eye contact and the action this image conveys as well as how it shows the water, shore, wrack line and the sand dune in the background.
Hunting white morph Reddish Egret – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 250mm, natural light
This white morph Reddish Egret was busy hunting in the Gulf of Mexico when I photographed it. It’s lores are a deep purplish blue and the black-tipped bill is very pink. I was sitting on the sand of the shoreline as the egret raced around trying to catch prey where the waves broke and like the dark morph, this bird all but ignored my presence.
Reddish Egrets are sometimes called “Drunken Sailors” because of their movements while hunting, they often wobble, twirl, dance and seem to stumble. It is very amusing and entertaining to see and photograph and they never failed to delight me.
More Reddish Egret images