Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two bucks for a hawk lunch!

2009-12-07 Two bucks for a hawk lunch!


This was a wonderful day! As I was having coffee at my dining table I saw a big buck in the back yard. I "shot" it! This is the largest buck here this year! I thought it was a 10-point, but after looking at many photos, I believe it is a 9-point "atypical".

Shortly thereafter, I saw a new buck sashay across the yard - I think it was a 7-point "atypical". Wow! What a day! He actually smiled for the camera!

Inspired, I decided to brave the cold and pursue them before breakfast. I found neither. I found a doe and this year's kid that seemed unconcerned with my slow-moving presence ("flags" down).

Then, when I was watching the does who had moved to the flood plain below, all of a sudden a lovely hawk flew into a tree before me! This was first for me! I was shaking from excitement! I need the pics! For about a week or so, I had been having problems with my Canon camera. Sometimes I pressed the shutter release and it did nothing. Sometimes it worked. Same this time. I am trying to take pics of the first hawk that came so close - pressing, pressing, pressing - "shouting!" (in my mind) - "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!". Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. While silently shouting "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!", the hawk amazingly remained.

The hawk had a fresh kill. I think it was a Cardinal. (Why do hawks get all "good birds" rather than the more abundant "trash birds" - House Sparrows)? It always seems like the rule around here. Jays and Cardinals get eaten by cats and birds of prey, and trash birds just multiply! It appears the Cardinals and Jays are much spookier and more rarely appear or stay very long. And once they leave, they rarely come back soon. So why are they the targets??? The trash birds are very abundant - yet maybe so much more immediate. They eat/leave/come back/; and eat/leave/come back; almost instantaneously. How can one seed supply the energy? And the Jays and Cardinals seem to get eaten. Why???

Anyway, I was privileged to watch the hawk eat its kill (all the while silently shouting "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” at my randomly responding camera). Being discriminate in my movements, I was privileged to watch the hawk for at least 15 minutes. Exciting! I slowly moved around and took shots from a few angles. (The back-lighting was horrible so it did not matter too much). The hawk was unconcerned. It mostly had its back to me, but regularly rotated its head to "check me out". I guess I posed no threat!

Then - after the hawk had eaten its lunch - it just sat there. Its breast was fluffed up (I assume for warmth) and its head tucked (again in the opposite direction) and it took a nap! (This was actually a treasure in itself that it was so unthreatened). It was still there when I left! Boring! Yes, I was cold and the darn camera was sporadic at best) (The camera has now been fixed). Just how many pics of the front or back side of a sleeping hawk does one need?

Actually, I did indeed "shout" (noise only, no gestures) at the hawk a couple of times. I thought after more than 15 treasured minutes I needed to experiment. Boring! Sleeping! I guess it was not too much different than myself after lunch. In itself  this was remarkable! What a gift! A fat and happy, fully-fed boring hawk! I will probably never experience this again!

Indeed! This was probably the best shooting day of my life! On my own property (condo association) along the Clinton River in Oakland County, I "shot" two large bucks in season and a hawk eating its lunch and taking a nap! Life is good!

[OK. So who is the hawk? I think Sharp-Shinned. Bigger than a dove, but not as big as a Cooper's. I wonder about the obvious white spots on the back!  (I have lots of back pics not shown here...). I do not see hawk backs or these white spots in the books!)]

 It was just too exciting!

Come on back, good buddies! And, Happy New Years! -

"Dr. Bob"