West Desert Red-tailed Hawk Under Gray, Blustery Skies

/, Red-tailed Hawks, Stansbury Mountains, Tooele County, Utah, West Desert/West Desert Red-tailed Hawk Under Gray, Blustery Skies

West Desert Red-tailed Hawk adultWest Desert Red-tailed Hawk adult – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 1250, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Yesterday morning was supposed to be partly sunny to mostly sunny where I live in Utah and once again the forecasters were wrong because instead what I actually saw were heavy gray clouds, virga, spitting rain and snow falling in the high country in both Salt Lake and Tooele counties. But I hadn’t been out shooting in 5 days and I desperately needed to raise my lens and camera at some thing.  I was having withdrawals.

I kept three images from yesterday, just three.

Two of them are horrible, low quality images of a very pale Northern Goshawk juvenile that I spotted up in a canyon from a long distance away that I kept purely for documentation purposes. I don’t see goshawks very often and that is probably because they are birds of dense deciduous and coniferous forests and I photograph out in the open more often than not. I think I might need to change that.

The only other image I kept from yesterday was of a Red-Tailed Hawk. I didn’t think I’d like this photo of a perched Red-tailed Hawk under gray, blustery skies but I do. I like the gray skies behind this hawk, the direct eye contact and the contrast of the cool hues in the sky against the warmer tones of the hawk’s plumage and the tree it is perched on.

Life is good even when the clouds roll in. Perhaps the weather will be better today.




  1. Anita W. October 21, 2016 at 10:40 am

    We have Red Tailed Hawks here in IA but wouldn’t look like that even if I had your good cameras. U have the technique!!! I enjoy your photos SO MUCH.

  2. Utahbooklover October 19, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I like how this image shows the pattern on its back and of course some of the red tail.

  3. Patty Chadwick October 19, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    The feather patterns of this bird are beautiful. The soft, almost dove grey sky sets off its colors perfectly. A beautiful shot….

  4. Elephant's Child October 19, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Love it. And think of the birds who have no option but to endure the weather…

  5. Liz Cormack October 19, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I agree with Kim. You can’t photograph anything bad! What you think are horrible, low quality images of the Northern Goshawk are probably great images to the rest of us.

  6. Wickersham's Conscience October 19, 2016 at 10:36 am

    It can be very tough to get a dark bird against a brighter sky; nicely done. As you say, the contrast gives the photo more punch.

    Northern Goshawks can be extremely tough to to find in the forest unless you find a nest. I tried to get a decent photo the last three years in Alaska, without much luck.

  7. Margot Rawlins October 19, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Your photos are bringing me much pleasure each day. I continue to share the blog with friends and family who love birds, beauty, nature and life. Thank you, Mia.

  8. Bob mcpherson October 19, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Beautiful image, Mia.. try

  9. Kim October 19, 2016 at 6:21 am

    It’s beeeeautiful! You’re too hard on yourself! You can’t photograph anything bad! 🙂

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