Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sharp-shinned hawk and other matters

I’ve had an interesting week, I must say. In researching a new academic reporting / transcript program for our school, I got to talk to a lovely person who is the registrar at Sidwell Friends School in DC (where Malia & Sasha Obama go). I’ve never had a more helpful conversation with anyone in the education business. She and I have similar duties and our schools are also similar, although theirs is twice the size. Her offer to be a go-to person if we chose the same system they use restored my faith in people and made me realize again that goes around comes around, and there is always reason to be kind to one another.

Last night was our school’s annual Trustees Dinner, a formal affair held at a very nice restaurant. The food was wonderful, and it’s just one of the ways that our trustees thank the faculty & staff for a job well done. Each year, new hires are asked to stand up at their seat and give a short introduction to themselves. The underlying theme this year was thankfulness for being able to teach. Let me rephrase that. Thankfulness for being able to teach without being a policeman in their classroom. For being able to teach children who are eager to learn. For having the opportunity to create their own lesson plans. One of our new hires ended up in tears at the end of her short speech.

It was a good evening.

I sat with our athletic director who is quite the sly fox. He waited until I had finished two glasses of wine and then asked me if I would come to school early this morning to print some certificates for him to take to the basketball league championship game later on. He’d forgotten to ask me to do them yesterday. And so I woke earlier than I would have liked and drove in the fog to our school. I didn’t mind at all, really. But I told him he owes me one. And when I came home, my husband told me excitedly that there was a hawk in the dogwood tree and could I please come take pictures.



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I shot this through the glass in the breakfast nook window, while standing on a chair. The lower glass is covered with wrap to keep out the cold but the windows in the upper level are free of wrap (although kind of dirty, if I must say). This is my favorite image of the group. I love how the feathers are blowing in the wind.

I admire birds of prey and I’m not sentimental enough to cry over what they catch. Good grief - everybody’s got to eat and I am not going to kick myself for having bird feeders.



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My husband told me a story of something that happened earlier this week with what he thinks is the same hawk. He said he was eating his lunch in the breakfast nook when suddenly, he saw a flash outside. It was the sharp-shinned hawk and it had perched in the dogwood tree just beyond the window. There happened to be a hairy woodpecker clinging to the suet feeder between the tree and the window but the hawk couldn’t see it because it was on the side that was hidden from the hawk. The woodpecker clung for a full half hour, being very very still until the hawk flew away.
Maybe you don’t find this sort of thing interesting. But I do.



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My husband opened the side door for me, very quietly and slowly, so I could slip outside to get these last couple of shots. The ones above and below were not taken through glass.
The hawk saw me, but he didn’t care. George was also outside, sitting under the tree.



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And then the hawk moved like lightning to swoop down on something that caught his eye. He missed his target, though, and continued his flight to the trees at the edge of the property.
And all was quiet. Which is what my day has been so far. Gray and quiet ~

Thanks for stopping by, my friends.

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40 comments:

Hilary said...

Beautiful hawk shots. I'm quite familiar of that routine of shooting through the glass and then very slowly sliding that door open. Your husband's story of the the woodpecker's behaviour is so cool. Interesting, for sure. Frank thought so too when I read it to him. Good stuff, Kate.

the wild magnolia said...

Sincere offers of help are life preservers. It is more fun to have a good teacher when learning something new.

The hawk is majestic. Wonderful captures.

the wild magnolia said...

Sincere offers of help are life preservers. It is more fun to have a good teacher when learning something new.

The hawk is majestic. Wonderful captures.

the wild magnolia said...

Sincere offers of help are life preservers. It is more fun to have a good teacher when learning something new.

The hawk is majestic. Wonderful captures.

jinxxxygirl said...

We see so many hawks here in the central valley of CA. Unlike you i don't know their names. Hubby and i were surprised to see so many more than we saw in TX. But i think they have more of a food supply here thats why there are more. We are always in awe of them. Thank you for your lovely photos....Hugs! deb

Tracey from Haiku.You.Do said...

Your pictures of the sharp shinned hawk make me more confident that what I saw and posted the other day was as well. A beautiful creature for sure. I feel the same way...they have to eat too...as long as it isn't my barn cat! Glad you've had a blessed week. Dang this grey weather. Looking forward to some sunshine tomorrow!

newmexicomtngirl.com said...

beautiful, just beautiful

mudmaven said...

Really wonderful hawk shots. We rarely get them in our urban neighborhood, but when we do it's cause for celebration - and of course pictures. This guy is certainly majestic! Grey and quiet is a good thing sometimes - good for hunkering down with a good book? ~chris

Elizabeth said...

Hi Kate - what a thrill to catch some shots of such a beautiful creature! A few weeks ago, I took a photo of a large bird and being that I'm no where near the bird-watcher (and photographer) that you are, I wonder if you'd be willing to help me identify it? I'd be happy to send a photo to you. I think I know what it is, but would love a second opinion.
-Elizabeth

Gail said...

Fantastic pictures.

Have a beautiful weekend.

Gayle said...

Love the fluffy feathers, too. GREAT shots.

Also love the compassionate cooperation of your fellow education person.

We have a red tailed hawk who seems to love our fence overlooking a canyon. We see him quite often.

Cloudia said...

Gosh, you produced another quality gem today. . . . . .and yes, interesting bit of avian behavior!

ALOHA from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3

Country Gal said...

Fantastic photos ! I watched a Sparrow Hawk here take a bird by surprise right out from under my feeders as it carried it off it was screaming , that's nature . We to like prey birds Papa loves the Eagles we have here and the hawks ! We have had a Red Tailed Hawk lurking around close for a week. Glad you had a nice dinner ! Have a good evening !

Kerri said...

Oh Kate .....these are magnificent! And I do find it Very Interesting that birds will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to stay alive ..... They are truly amazing creatures.

Hilary said...

He's a beauty!!!
And I think it's all very exciting indeed.

Hilary said...

He's a beauty!!!
And I think it's all very exciting indeed.

Hilary said...

He's a beauty!!!
And I think it's all very exciting indeed.

Acorn to Oak said...

Great photos!

Mary said...

Kate, these are so awesome! I mean really, really wonderful! xoxo

Low Tide High Style said...

Glad you had a nice dinner with your colleagues , and those hawk shots are amazing! We have lots of feeders up now and my greatest fear is that one of the birds of prey around here will come swooping in for super!

Kat

Linda said...

I alway enjoy coming here to see your peaceful photos. Even the ones you take through screens, dirty windows or windshields are far better than any I could take.

Cindy said...

Wow, the hawk is beautiful and I'm glad your dinner went well.

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becky up the hill said...

We have a food chain in our garden too. Lovely hawk photographs. If I had to choose, I'd love the hawks to dine on more squirrels (the bane..) than their feathered friends.

Annie said...

So lovely to read your post of your bird photos...and the meal ..

It is such a nice change to hear of something other than RAIN and FLOODS.

Just as some people are cleaning up after floods for the second and third time in as many years...we are being warned of more heavy rain tonight for a couple of days, with even more to come on Thursday. Help. Is all I can say. May God protect all those who think they need to travel, and keep them safely at home if necessary, including my daughter who thinks she needs to speak at a conference!

God Bless Kate, I love the way your husband loves to watch the birds. It is a precious time for you both to share!!

Karen said...

What a beautiful bird!... great captures here. And what a brilliant woodpecker, huh? .....

Hartwood Roses said...

Kate, these photos are beautiful!! Here's one of my hawk stories: A few years ago, my husband and I were walking down the sidewalk in downtown Fredericksburg during the annual Christmas tour. All of the sudden, a hawk dove right in front of me, straight into a large bush. (I'm assuming it was a Sharp Shinned Hawk by its size and the way it dove into the bush.) Smaller birds burst from the bush as the hawk entered. All of this startled me big time! That hawk must have been sitting and watching the little birds in the bush, and decided (just as I was passing by) to make his move.)

Have a great Sunday!

Em Parkinson said...

What a beautiful creature. I may be contacting you for a higher res image to draw from sometime if that would be okay? Would suit pencil rather than the pen of the Spotted Owl I think. Hope you've had a lovely Sunday. x

Lisa Gordon said...

Wow, glad your husband saw this beautiful bird, and that you were able to capture it. You got some really wonderful shots.

Hope you've had a great weekend!

beth said...

i love all birds and their stories.....so thanks for giving me something great to read and look at today :)
xo

Michelle said...

This post made me smile. The helpful person at the other school; the nice dinner with thankful co-workers; your "bird-spotter" husband; the beautiful photos of the hawk. His stare is certainly meaningful!

Debbie From Illinois said...

That is one regal bird. Great photos.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful website. Can't imagine how much bigger it would grow if circumstances were different. Add more George, plus a few other things.

Carolynn Anctil said...

Oh. My. Gawd. You have totally outdone yourself with this one. Wow. Love, love, love.

Carolynn
A Glowing Ember

Daryl said...

that hawk is gorgeous .. wonderful captures and i love the story about the woodpecker

Ramona JapaneseRedneck said...

Wonderful shots of that beautiful creature.

Lili said...

Powerful shots Kate! You really captured the commanding pose of that hawk. I found myself a little scared for some reason. And oh the poor little woodpecker must have really breathed a sigh of relief after he took off. The windblown feathers are very cool too. Oh and a nice fancy dinner out sounds fun! xo

mrs mediocrity said...

These are just fabulous. He is beautiful.

Emom said...

WOW!

Anonymous said...

So wonderful to read uplifting stories about teachers and education. I spent 24 years woking in Texas public schools and not many of my stores were positive like this. Many days we were told that we just didn't work hard enough when we went home at night exhausted and discouraged. Thank you for sharing good news. I always loved school when I was a child. Since I have now retired I stay away from schools and negative stories. Love your blog and your calmness.