© Robert Sommers 2019

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Red tailed tale

Bruce saw a juvenile bald eagle with a white tail flying over Elder St. in Fallbrook the other day. He called me up and told me to keep my eyes open.

I have never seen a bald eagle in these parts, in Ramona yes, but I have seen several golden eagles hereabouts through the years.

Bruce is very lucky. I ran outside and surveyed the sky after his phone call but unfortunately my quarry had already fled the scene.

I was driving into town yesterday morning and espied a very light specimen of buteo jamaicensis perched on the telephone pole in my narrow river canyon.

There are at least 14 separate subspecies of red tailed hawk. I am assuming that this one is a calurus, which has three distinct morphs or color patterns. This would be the lightest version unless it is an entirely different subspecies altogether which it could conceivably be. I have taken photos of hawks for years and have so many different color examples in my files! This is the first red tailed I have ever seen with a white head.

I had my nikon with the 300mm lens on the seat, quickly turned down the music and opened the window, hoping to snap a pic or two before my little birdie flew away. I haven't used this lens in a long time and the shots were less than perfect and overexposed, shooting in the dawn from a dark cabin to the outside. Need to spend some more time with it and dial it in.

I think that the hardcore avian activity might be about to start!

White ceanothus are blooming and the purple variety will be here very soon. Purple hills are when the high coastal sage and chaparral is at its best.

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