Swainson’s Hawks Along the Road

/, Box Elder County, Swainson's Hawks, Utah/Swainson’s Hawks Along the Road

Roadside Swainson's HawkRoadside Swainson’s Hawk – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

There are so many Swainson’s Hawks in northern Utah right now, I see them perched, on their nests, hovering over fields and soaring on the thermals after the sun warms up the air. Yesterday morning I was able to photograph two Swainson’s Hawks that were perched close together next to a well traveled road.

Morning light on a Swainson's HawkMorning light on a Swainson’s Hawk – Nikon D500, f9, 1/500, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Trucks zoomed by and these hawks just ignored them and only followed the vehicles with their eyes. There was a cool breeze blowing at the time and the Swainson’s Hawks may have been just enjoying the warmth of the sun on their feathers. I’m not sure but I am glad they were cooperative birds because that allowed me to photograph them for a few minutes.

Rocks, grasses, clouds and sagebrushRocks, grasses, clouds and sagebrush – Nikon D810, f11, 1/640, ISO 320, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 18 mm, natural light

Swainson’s Hawks prefer wide open habitat including grasslands, prairies, agricultural fields and I will also see them perched on cliff faces surveying the grasslands below. Lately all I have to do once I am outside of the city is look up and I can see these beautiful raptors on the wing.

Close up of a sub-adult light morph Swainson's HawkClose up of a sub-adult light morph Swainson’s Hawk – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

This handsome Swainson’s Hawk’s plumage confuses me a little, I know it is a light morph Swainson’s and I believe it is a sub-adult because its plumage isn’t what I expect see in an adult nor is it the plumage of a first Spring bird. It might be a second Spring bird?

Light morph sub-adult Swainson's Hawk on a postLight morph sub-adult Swainson’s Hawk on a post – Nikon D500, f11, 1/320, ISO 400, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

However old this Swainson’s Hawk is I think it is a handsome raptor and I am glad it tolerated being photographed from across the road.

Cliff face, mountains and cloudsCliff face, mountains and clouds – Nikon D810, f9, 1/800, ISO 320, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 18 mm, natural light

As much as I love photographing birds I also love seeing the country they live in and fly over. I took the two landscape images a few days ago because I loved the combination of sky, clouds and land formations. The country side here in northern Utah is always a visual delight to my eyes.

So are the birds.

Life is good.

Mia

6 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte May 16, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    God…I love the hawk’s eyes! So incredibly intense and in such nuanced detail. Thx Mia.

  2. Elephants Child May 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Heart balm.
    Thank you.

  3. Tom Martin May 16, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Magnificent set of photos, thanks.

  4. Patty Chadwick May 16, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Love this series…rocky cliffs, blue sky , windswept clouds, sage and beautiful birds close up…thatvsyate has some of the most beautiful, dramatic, land features anywhere on earth! I especially like the close up in the second to last frame…old, weathered wood, gorgeous hawk and crisp, crisp detail…

  5. Bob mcpherson May 16, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Beautiful images, Mia

  6. Liz Cormack May 16, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Wow, the scenery is beautiful & so are the Swainson’s Hawks.

Comments are closed.