Friday, February 18, 2011

Birds of Prey

 The never-ending wind and snow has dampened my birdwatching desire, somewhat. Today, I decided to venture out and see what I could see from inside my car. I made stops at two places and at each one, I had a close encounter with two birds of prey.
I decided to visit Exetor Ave. today and see if I could see the Cedar Waxwing and maybe even an Evening Grosbeak. I was willing to stay a while, after all, I was in my car. I watched the birds come and go for more than an hour with no sign of the target birds.
Finally, I noticed five female Purple Finches move into the distant feeding zone. I was straining with my binoculars to see if any one of them might have a different, big beak. I was pretty intent on the task when around the corner came this juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk. He flew through the group of small birds and came out of the flurry with a Purple Finch in its talons.
 I threw down my binoculars and grabbed my camera just in time to catch the "sharpie" land on a branch, behind the big branch. I did a quick focus to the best of my ability with all of the branches blocking my view. It is a wonder there is any focus at all. I managed to take five pictures, all shown here, before it flew off in the distance.
 It became pretty evident that the hawk had caught his lunch and the poor little finch didn't have a chance, despite its courageous fight.
 I saw my second bird of prey at Quidi Vidi Lake where seeing a Bald Eagle at this time of year is almost a given. I saw the eagle sitting out on the ice and knew it was too far to photograph. I stayed in my car with my view blocked by walls of snow.
 I had been fiddling with my camera settings to experiment with the ever-changing light effects around me - sun then cloud, then sun, then cloud! I looked up and spotted the juvenile Bald Eagle heading my way. I scrambled to get my seat belt off, grab my camera and jump out of the car. I got the the water's edge just in time to enjoy a flyby from my reviewing stand.
It's too bad my camera wasn't set to make the most of this opportunity, but that's the challenge of it.

It is really awesome to witness the power of nature up close and personal.

1 comment:

  1. I love the pictures you got of the sharpie! I wonder if it was a female?