Male Rough-legged Hawk in flight in a clear blue sky – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
For several weeks now Rough-legged Hawks have been migrating into northern Utah and showing up in locations where I have photographed them for years. Yesterday morning I was able to photograph a handsome male Rough-legged Hawk in flight over the Promontory Mountains in Box Elder County after he lifted off from a pole in a field. When the Rough-legged Hawk first took off he was headed away from me but he turned, headed south and flew past me with nice light falling on him with a clear blue in the background.
Male Rough-legged Hawk in flight in front of a cloud – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
As the hawk flew south he passed in front of the Promontory Mountains with a cloud in the background. Of the two images I am sharing here today I prefer this one the most because it includes some habitat in the background and for me it is more visually appealing than just a plain blue sky, that is just my personal preference of course. I was able to take a series of 34 images of this bird as he flew by.
I always see more female and juvenile Rough-legged Hawks than I do males while they visit Utah during the winter so when I have a male in my viewfinder I do tend get a bit excited.
Yesterday was also thrilling for me because Rough-legged Hawks are usually silent except for when they are on their breeding grounds and while I was trying to photograph another immature Rough-legged Hawk in the same general area of Box Elder County I heard one of these beautiful arctic hawks call for the first time and I must say that it surprised and delighted me.
The calls of a pair of Rough-legged Hawks in Alaska on their breeding territory can be heard here.
Life is good.