Big Red-tailed Hawk lifting off – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
I have been trying to photograph this rufous morph Red-tailed Hawk in good light since the first time I spotted her on the 24th of March in northern Utah, yesterday I finally accomplished that goal. This Red-tailed Hawk is big, red, and beautiful. She was perched on some rocks when I first saw her and by the time I could lock on to her she was lifting off from a lichen encrusted rock that had the same rufous red tones as her plumage.
Beautiful Red-tailed Hawk obtaining flight – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
When I first found her on the 24th of March I suspected that she was nesting near this same area where I found her yesterday and since then I have seen her on the nest a few times while driving south on the road. These photos all show messy feathers on her belly where her brood patch is. Messy perhaps but I can’t tell you how excited I was to photograph her in good light for a change.
Big Red – Red-tailed Hawk in flight – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
After the big red Red-tailed Hawk gained altitude yesterday she flew past me to the east, circled and then flew back to the west where I was able to take photos of her with the sky in the background instead of the sage and rabbitbrush covered hillside bit unfortunately I clipped wing tips in almost all of the photos and the one where I didn’t she had closed her nictitating membrane over her eye.
Speaking of eyes… the biting gnats (no-see-ums) were bad yesterday and they tore me up, sucked my blood and spit me back out. I didn’t know until much later in the day how badly they had gotten to me. By late afternoon I could tell I had been bitten by one of the nasty suckers between the bridge of my nose and my right eye because it was crazy itchy in that spot then a while later I noticed swelling on my lower eyelid that got worse before I went to bed. It was bad enough last night but it looks worse this morning. I have a lot to do before Saturday and now I have to do it with a swollen eye. This is the price we bird photographers sometimes pay to follow our passion for taking images of our beloved birds. I sometimes have really odd and/or strong reactions to insect bites.
Maybe I should buy an eye patch from the drug store and pretend to be a pirate who photographs birds for the rest of the week mateys!
Life is good.