My First of the Season Rough-legged Hawks

Rough-legged Hawk on Parking Area signRough-legged Hawk on Parking Area sign – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I went to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge yesterday hoping to see and photograph my first of the season Tundra Swans and Rough-legged Hawks, I dipped on the swans but found at least 5 of the hawks. Of the Rough-legged Hawks only one of them was anywhere near close enough to photograph and all of the places it decided to perch on were signs. The first sign I saw it perched on was the “Parking Area” sign on the north side of the auto tour route. I hope the hawk parks in this area often this winter.

Last year there was a Rough-legged Hawk that was consistently found in this same area of the refuge and yesterday I spent time wondering if this hawk was that same hawk.

Rough-legged Hawk on a sign at Bear River MBRRough-legged Hawk on a sign at Bear River MBR – Nikon D500, f14, 1/160, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The Rough-legged Hawk took flight across the water and landed on another sign about only possessing 10 shells on that specific dike. This image is full frame and I could only get the hawk and the characters “ossess 10” in it when I turned my D500 vertical.

While I usually prefer natural perched to man made perches I am becoming more accepting of man made perches in my images as I grow as a bird photographer.

I am excited about seeing the Rough-legged Hawks on the refuge again and hopefully the Tundra Swans aren’t too far behind.

Life is good.



  1. Elephant's Child October 27, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I hope it is the first of many for you – and us.

  2. Patty Chadwick October 27, 2016 at 8:54 am

    The first image is pretty funny! That bird is definitely “parking”….beautiful image, incredeible, crisp detail in second….beautiful bird!!!

  3. Ian Holland October 27, 2016 at 8:07 am

    The rough-legged Hawks are going through North Central Alberta now, along with the Tundra Swans. I got some good pictures of both species! I agree, life is good!

  4. Kim October 27, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Beautiful photos, as always!

  5. Bob McPherson October 27, 2016 at 6:51 am

    Beautiful images, Mia.

  6. John Eppler October 27, 2016 at 6:28 am

    Oh, one of these days I” love to shot with you at Bear River MCROBERTS or Antelope Island. I will let you know when I plan to come to Utah!

  7. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver October 27, 2016 at 5:39 am

    They show up in Vermont’s Champlain Valley about this time along with thousands of snow geese and the occasional Snowy Owl. Happy winter birding!

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