Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Afternoon surprise

I found these photos on the camera’s memory card today.

My husband told me that early this afternoon he was sitting in the sunshine, bundled up in his winter coat and hat, enjoying the birds.

He had the camera with him and the Quantaray 70-300mm lens on it. It was nice in the sun and where he was sitting, he was protected from the wind.

 

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He spied a little black capped chicadee clinging to the suet cage trying to get at all that lovely cake inside.

 

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He captured this downy woodpecker with a thick beard.

I looked at this beard close-up in Photoshop and it really is thick!

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A house finch stops by to feast on seed my husband had spread out on the picnic table.

 

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And a little nuthatch comes by as well. All the birds were chirping and twittering about in the warmth of the sunshine.

It was so peaceful, he told me.

And then suddenly, in a flash of wings, they completely disappeared.

My husband was ready with the lens. When the birds leave that quickly, there’s usually only one reason.

Predator.

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A sharp-shinned hawk has appeared. And he looks hungry.

I love how clear this shot is. It’s the best of the bunch.

This hawk moves very quickly and silently, and his secretive traits allow him to surprise his prey. He’s looking for birds at the feeders.

But they’ve already left.

 

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He flew down to the picnic table but didn’t stay very long. Small birds are the most common prey for these hawks, together with rodents, reptiles and even some large insects.

 

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Sharp-shinned hawks often have a plucking post near their nest, where they go to pluck feathers from their prey, leaving piles of them at the base of a stump, a fence post, or a fallen tree. Their nests are usually hidden quite well high up in a dense conifer tree.

I do hope you’re taking notes. There’s going to be a quiz at the end of this chapter.

 

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Not really.

But I find all of this interesting, so I’m sharing the knowledge.

: : ~ : :

I’m thankful that I don’t live in the Randolph, NY area. I heard on the news tonight that they had 4 feet of lake-effect snow in a record-setting early December storm.

And that’s just too much. Anyone out there have snow yet? It’s been bone-chillingly cold here in Maryland these past few days. So how are things in your neck of the woods?

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

123 Signature

52 comments:

texwisgirl said...

Oh those photos are wonderful! We get hawks that swoop in here to pick up songbirds from our feeders and I always feel guilty like I lured the songbirds to their death.

And no snow yet here in NE Texas, although parts further north may see flurries by tomorrow a.m. We've had several freezes already and frosts, but no snow.

Thanks for sharing those wonderful shots! Once again, way to go husband's photography skills!

deb said...

I can't tell you how much your blog has been blessing me lately.
thank you.

Hartwood Roses said...

Aren't hawks fascinating? I often have the company of Red-shouldered Hawks while I'm working in the garden ... I recognize their call, even if I can't see them. We have at least one Blue Jay who is very good at mimicking the hawks, with a bit if a Blue Jay lilt.

Yolanda said...

I love the bird pictures today. We have lots of hawks,kestrels and ospreys here in Oregon and I love to watch them.

JackDaddy said...

I always want a new camera whenever I see your pictures, but then I remember, it's the person BEHIND the camera that takes the good pictures, not the camera itself! :)

beth said...

gosh, if only that hawk had been with me this afternoon in bed, bath and beyond.

as i was looking for a new bed pillow, a mouse ran out from under the display....YES, a mouse...in the bedding area...on the floor....close to my feet.

and you know what, i felt terrible for him. he was probably ready for a little snack, like a twix bar, but with the cash register area being so busy, there was no way he was getting to that spot until after the crowds were gone....

oh, and your hubby is so good at this photography thing :)

mrs mediocrity said...

oh my, be still my heart. seriously, i adore hawks, even though they are mean, eat cute little chickadee kind of birds. I have come close to getting pictures, but never anything that close.

i live in upstate new york, we have about a foot of snow, the really fluffy big snowflake falling lazily from the sky kind, really getting me into the holiday spirit.

Flea said...

What a gorgeous hawk! He did well with those shots.

Country Girl said...

Note to JackDaddy,
Yes, it's the person behind the camera but with a good one, picture taking comes easier. You'll begin to surprise yourself with good photos because the camera is smart enough to adjust the settings when in auto mode. And then, just maybe, you'll want to learn more. So my advice is get the camera!

Thanks, all. I love hearing your weather updates, too.

~ C.G.

Alli said...

Wow!!!! It's incredible that he caught those shots. Good thing he had the camera. :) Hope you're having a wonderful day!

Char said...

great shots!! love that hawk...well, as long as he's not eating these pretty birds in front of me.

Michelle said...

I didn't know downy woodpeckers have beards; thanks for the info and the close-up! No snow here, and none expected; just lots of rain (per usual) in the next week. We did get a little snow before Thanksgiving, which is unusual for here.

Hilary said...

wow....awesome pics of the hawk...your husband did well.
No snow in northeast NY, just COLD.
But it is nice to not have to shovel.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

The hawk pictures are exquisite, your husband did a great job. The info relating to the hawk is interesting too. Just don't call on me for the pop quiz. Thank you.

Low Tide High Style said...

These photos are amazing, and I love that one of the hawk...crystal clear! I'm ready for the quiz...so bring it on! ;-)

It's been windy and bone chilling down my way...and there's no escape from the wind here!

Kat :)

Donna S. said...

Colder than normal here in Southern IN. A couple of light dustings of snow!!

Another Sister said...

I know that this has already been said, but that stop me from saying it, as it comes from my heart: WOW. Great catch for the husband to have made. Please tell him so. And I gots to get me some o' that tea.

Rocket Man said...

Couldn't agree more on all that snow. We got 25" overnight from the Snowmageddon storm last December and had to deal with it for nearly 6 weeks.

I like to bundle up, take my camera and sit in a sheltered sunny spot during the winter months, too. The birds are much easier to spot with the leaves off the trees and it seems we get a wider variety of species in cold weather. I saw my first Nuthatch and Eastern Towhee of the season this afternoon.

Laura~peach~ said...

absolutely amazingshots of the hawk... love them :) hes beautiful!

The Wife of a Dairyman said...

I just love wild life photos, so captivating! Your hubby did a great job capturing those shots!

Lisa RedWillow said...

Im in love with that Hawk . What a wonderful shot . All the birds are a delight to see and when they come to my feeder Im trying so hard to capture some. Ihave a few but most are trash.

deborah said...

Awesome shots of the hawk! I enjoy watching the birds, too, and your facts were very interesting!
Snow all day Saturday, ending up with 3 or 4 inches...bitter cold with harsh winds, too!

Caroline said...

That hawk is amazing! I would die to get shots like that. Oh gosh...4 feet of snow...I would only like it if I were 10 and getting a snow day :)

retro sweets said...

Gorgeous hawk. He sure looked disappointed when the birds were all gone in that last pic. :) I love winter and snow but my body doesn't... Brrrr!

Karen said...

It's been bone chilling cold here too... I'm looking for a great dane coat today because Ben is freezing when he goes out to do his stuff. We had a dusting of snow... but darn it, if it's gonna be this cold, I want snow to make it pretty too.

Your cardinal is framed in my side entryway above a deacons bench, and it's such a nice winter accent.

Jayne said...

How cool! It's so hard to get photos of a Sharpie too! Hey, I think that woodpecker may just be a Hairy instead of a Downy with the beak that large? Have a wonderful day Kate.

Barb T. said...

I absolutely love this post!! There is nothing more relaxing than birdwatching. We have what I believe are red- tailed hawks here; they fly around and cry and cry. Occasionally we see one in the trees. They are something to look at!!!
We have no snow and shouldn't have any--central Florida--but it is freezing--29 this morning when I walked! I like it, but we don't get a steady dose of this. It will warm up, but I believe next week it will be even colder! Yikes! It's already time for Winter Wipeout!!! lol

Jo-Ann said...

I just came across your blog and love your pictures - we have some of the same birds at our feeders here in Upstate NY (6" of snow) and we often see hawks swooping in for their dinner!

Gail said...

Wonderful pictures!

No snow but cold, I am ready for spring and winter has not reached us yet.

Nurse Nancy said...

I just love all the bird pictures. Hawks are so cool....but I know they are not so nice to the little birds.

Snappy Di said...

Interesting info today. My husband loves watching hawks. He's full of info about them too.

Soooo, glad we did not move to NY state about 5 years ago. Just way too chilly up there for my thin skin. I don't know how people get through the winter with THAT much snow. I guess they just stay home a lot.

Di

TSannie said...

I've been stalking lately without commenting. As always the photos are wonderful! Your hubs is getting good at that. Almost as good as you. (Don't tell him I said so;-)
I miss you, my friend.

Merry merry!

LivewithFlair said...

We have a little snow here in PA. I love that hawk photo! Gorgeous!

Nancy said...

Your husband did an excellent job with the photos. I'm expecting a zoom lens for my Nikon later in the month -- I can only hope to take such beautiful birdie pics.

Well done!

sharon said...

I just love looking at your bird pictures. The hawk is such a magnificient creature. such keen eyes. thank you for sharing!

The Japanese Redneck said...

Our weather people can't get it right... They were saying snow flurries this am. But, instead it was warmer this am than the rest of the week.

Daryl said...

I dont know much, aside from what you just shared, most of which has evaporated, about hawks but that one looks young maybe he didnt have his ID and knew A wouldnt let him be served?

COUNTRY GAL said...

AWESOME photos ! Have a warm and happy day !

Jeanne Walker said...

I know all living things have to eat, but it breaks my heart when something so small, cute and innocent has to be prey for something larger. If it were my bird feeder, I'd be out there with my binoculars watching for Mr. Prey
as a warning siren for the little birdies!

Hot, cold, hot, cold, hot, cold...that's the weather here in SE Texas! And everybody either has sinus problems, colds or the flu...love the fall but not down here. Thinking about moving to NE Arkansas!

Pictures are amazing. What a gift!
It's about 30% the camera, and 70% the photographer!

Hearts and hugs, Jeanne

Jeanne Walker said...

Oops, did I say NE Arkansas...I meant NW Arkansas...the Boston Mountains!

thotlady said...

Very cold in Virginia, but I am a Wisconsin girl, so cold is a relative term.

Cait O'Connor said...

Good to see somewhere without snow!

Rachel Lynn said...

We've got snow here, it's been snowing steadily for a few days and is expected to finish out the week. I love snow! - Except for my drive to work.

Mary said...

WOW these are fabulous shots, especially the hawk! We had a few flurries on Monday but it didn't stick. It has been VERY cold here, too. :)

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Love your husband's photos, and yours too. They make the day better.
We are having our first good snow here in Northern Ohio, right next door to Lake Erie, so a good amount of lake effect snow. Pretty and fluffy, not so bad to drive in except for the Other Drivers. Darn them.
No hawks here, but we have an (as yet unseen) hooty owl serenading us every evening.Makes it worth the wait while an old o.l.d. dog decides where to pee. :)

Kacey said...

Those hawk photos are breath taking. I need a longer lens...just sayin'

Lili said...

Great shots and I agree the info about the hawk IS fascinating. We have the most beautiful covering of snow, sticking to all the right surfaces and not the road! Yay! xo ~Lili

Deb said...

I noticed a couple of hawks flying around here the other day....they were so pretty soaring around...then I saw a buzzard sitting on the electrical transformer down the street...

Oliag said...

Wonderful shots! We get quite a few hawks around here and they do consider our bird feeders as bird feeders of their own...between the cat and the hawks I often feel guilty feeding the little guys...but I love to watch them so I do...

Kay said...

Once again, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy the birds in your area. We do not have any pretty ones here on our coast. Just normal old ugly ones.. Hee hee.

Jan's camera said...

Mother nature is so cruel. I was loving these cute bird photos until Mr. Troublemaker Hawk showed up. But he is beautiful too. Just doing what he was born to do. You have an amazing variety of birds in your area. Thanks for the lovely photos.

Louisiana Belle said...

What a great variety of birds! We have been having what I thought was a Cooper's hawk coming to our feeders; now I'm wondering if it might be the Sharp-Shinned hawk. Since I can't see his tail, it's hard to tell. If you have time, could you look at this and tell the difference? http://louisianabelleforever.blogspot.com/2010/11/day-323-coopers-hawk.html Thanks!