A Centennial Valley Swainson’s Hawk

/, Birds, Centennial Valley, Montana, Swainson's Hawks/A Centennial Valley Swainson’s Hawk

Adult Swainson's Hawk on a gnarly old fence postAdult Swainson’s Hawk on a gnarly old fence post – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/4000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I am enjoying my time in the Centennial Valley especially so when I can spend time photographing raptors like this adult light morph Swainson’s Hawk. It had been just about 2 1/2 months since I have been here and it has changed from luscious greens to golden colored grasses. It was pretty brisk yesterday morning with a low of 14°F but it felt invigorating after a long, hot summer in the Salt Lake Valley.

I was tickled when I found this Swainson’s Hawk perched on this gnarly fence post in the morning light.

Swainson's Hawk in the Centennial Valley of MontanaSwainson’s Hawk in the Centennial Valley of Montana – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/3200, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

I wanted to share an image with the hawk small in the frame and the out of focus mountains on the north side of the valley still showing some purple shadows in the sections the sun hadn’t kissed yet. The metal things on the left side of the fence post are bent, rusty nails.

By this time of the morning it was a whopping 32 degrees!

Swainson's Hawk lift off with one talon on the fence postSwainson’s Hawk lift off with one talon on the fence post – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

I was glad I had my TC off and was using full frame mode when the Swainson’s Hawk took off because it meant I didn’t clip a wing, a tail or the head of the hawk with any of my shots and I really loved this pose and how one talon was still barely touching the fence post when this frame was taken.

Adult Swainson's Hawk in flight over Centennial ValleyAdult Swainson’s Hawk in flight over Centennial Valley – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/3200, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

As the Swainson’s flew west I was able to get a few more images of it in flight where I still had some light in the eye.

Swainson’s Hawks are one of my favorite raptors and I am always happy to spend time photographing and observing them but even more so when the location is as beautiful as the Centennial Valley of Montana.

Life is good.

Mia

(PS, all birds are my favorites)

8 Comments

  1. Humming Bird Lover September 12, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Hi! so so beautiful! I am so proud of your photo’s! Have a great day! love ya mom

  2. Utahbooklover September 9, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Love this series — thanks for sharing!

  3. Elephant's Child September 9, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    WOW!!!!

  4. Marilyn Kircus September 9, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    There were three hawks interacting near the road down Lower Lake Campground. I was watching them without binoculars. I think they were a family group and wished you guys could have photographed them as they flew close to the ground.

  5. Cindy September 9, 2015 at 8:54 am

    How I envy your trips, Mia. Gorgeous images as always. I love all birds too. 🙂

  6. Susan Stone September 9, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Gorgeous!!!!!

  7. Patty Chadwick September 9, 2015 at 7:20 am

    A beautiful series of a beautiful bird in a beautiful setting…i especially
    Ike the first with that wonderful, weathered old silver post, the shape of the bird in the second, and the “fling” of the wings in the third….glad the trip id good.

  8. Bob Mcpherson September 9, 2015 at 5:42 am

    Beautiful images, Mia. I see you are enjoying your trip. Big Sky Country is hard to beat.

Comments are closed.