Friday, January 9, 2009

A gift from Heaven

I could let today's pictures stand on their own merit. Much of birding is luck, being in the right place at the right time. Today everything came together. I may never see such a wonder again.

I was headed to the path where I usually meet the friendly titmouse.The plan was to take more nutty pictures, but before I got there my eye spotted a hawk on a low down branch. Oh boy, close ups at last. Click, click. Move a little closer. Click, click. And then I saw a second hawk on a slightly higher branch. My heart almost stopped. Two red-tails, total love. My lens is too powerful to get two hawks together when so close and I didn't want to back off. It's rare enough getting close shots. It was obvious why the two hawks were there. Squirrel Town. There were easily 100 squirrels and the squirrels were fully aware that the hawks had arrived. They were taunting the hawks, chattering, scooting around, even going along the side of the tree into the hawk's face. Think Alvin and the Chipmunks creating havoc. Now imagine 100 squirrels doing the same thing. I watched for over an hour as the squirrels teased the hawks and the hawks tried to capture something, but nobody got captured.

The hawks are so beautiful, majestic. It's easy to forget that these are birds of prey. You look at the gorgeous faces, the intelligent eyes. So sweet. But then you see the talons and the mighty wing spans. Powerhouse birds. The first hawk had brown eyes with a feather caught on its lower beak. The second hawk had yellow eyes and seemed slimmer. While I was watching the yellow-eyed hawk on the ground a third hawk arrived, also brown eyes. There are no words to describe my excitement. There were no territorial squabbles. The three hawks were trying to catch squirrels, maybe mice and voles. There was a lot of searching under logs. While this was going on only two tourists stopped to watch (and take pictures with their cell phones.) There were no birders, which made me very sad as this was such spectacular activity, three hawks in one small area.

I'll blog more hawks pictures in future blogs. It's very hard to edit a manageable number from a take of over 300 images.

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