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Greater Egret

Monday, March 9, 2020

Tell and show

female red tailed hawk, light morph
This will be a different kind of blogpost, I will describe the scene today and supply pictures tomorrow.

I was getting some odds and ends cleaned up at the shop and the day sort of got away from me.

Had to send some photos out, do some bookkeeping.

I had given thought to going down and taking a hike around Lake Wohlford to look for eagles but it was past three and pushing it and I decided to go home instead.

I got the Malcolm Gladwell book What the dog saw from the library but just haven't had a chance to read it. This would be a good rainy afternoon to settle down with a book.










So I am driving home and the sky is getting gray with the portents of the approaching storm when I see my hawk mother in her nest. I thought "Why not?" and pulled my large and very sharp lens out of the back of the car and stuck it on the tripod.

Nikon D850 with Nikkor 400mm 2.8 fl - ƒ2.8 1/1000 400mm iso 280

I am taking near optimal pictures of her for the first time when lo and behold, the expectant father flies in carrying a large linen sack or piece of fabric of some kind. It practically covers the nest, I have never seen anything like it. Shocked me, I wasn't ready for it. This is like 300 thread count, my birds are going to be living large and plush when they get this stuff ripped up and in the nest. I wonder exactly where it came from? Somebody missing a pillowcase?

The male starts tearing the fabric apart.

Mama wants a break and flies off. I call my neighbor up, who is going to want to watch the show, and she drives over in her truck.


Dad isn't quite sure what to do with the large fabric now covering the nest. Looks a little befuddled.


After a period of time Papa makes a screech and the mother to be comes hurtling through the air like a falcon.

He splits in a near seamless transition.

male red tailed hawk aloft

They really have this thing timed well. Your turn.


She comes home, accidentally knocks the fabric off, it catches on a lower bough. Whoops!

I stick around shooting the first year nest for over an hour. I watch them alternate. She sits and then he sits on the incipient brood.




Stephanie and I agree, we have never had such a pale morph mother nesting in the valley in over thirty years.

We have both been watching the canyon raptor symphony for a long time and also agree that this is a very young mother, she is quite small.

She is also very beautiful.


When I get home there is another hawk on my redwood tree. Couldn't grab the shot in time.

Looking forward to a wonderful spring and little hawk children, also known as eyas. And processing these shots tomorrow. (Remember to click on a shot and you will see all of them large.) And by the way, most of these shots are completely untouched. There really wasn't a lot I had to or could do.


Check out this great link, the once forgotten desert photographers of the Chuckwalla, Susie Keef Smith and Lula Mae Graves.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful shots, thanks for sharing this adventure. ~ Diane O

Roy Jhciacb Cohen said...

Your neighbor, Stephanie, was just telling me about this little adventure. Some pretty cool photos and some interesting behavior…

Blue Heron said...

It was pretty amazing Roy and hopefully a portent of very good things to come!

Unknown said...

That fabric appears to be a sack that Rainbow Mealworms in Bonsall uses for shipping mealworms. They are on Holly Lane, near the old bridge on 76. Great photos!

Blue Heron said...

Thank you for that, unknown. Interesting. Good sleuthing.

Anonymous said...

Didn't take much sleuthing, I use a sack of 8,000 mealworms a week, feeding my flock in Esconddo.

Blue Heron said...

flock of what?

Unknown said...

Mostly African hornbills, but other stuff like kookaburras, ibis, rollers. stuff to keep me out of trouble the last 50 years:-)