Crow, Hawk, Falcon and no Snowman

For them who don’t know it, I shoot birds. My weapon of choice is the D7000, and my caliber of choice, weather-permitting, tops out at 400mm.

Sunday was a beautiful day . . . so we went for a short drive on some of the unpaved backroads near where we live.

We drank coffee, listened to music, and spoke about potential places we might move to. Oh, and yes, I had my Nikon D7000 with the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR lens.

That’s right . . . I was hunting hawks.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

For them not familiar with birds, that’s a crow. There were two crows on that partial fence, and I so bad wanted a picture of them so I could caption it ‘Attempted Murder’.

Unfortunately, by the time I stopped the car and grabbed the camera, one flew one way, and the other flew the other way. I settled for capturing one.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

. . . I do like that lens . . .

The drive itself was about one hour, driving at a leisurely pace, and stopping to occasionally watch something or other. A few of the stops, like the one above, did involve birds.

By the way, as usual interested parties can click on the photos for a larger version, or go to the SmugMug Gallery HERE.

Although I had not been hopeful, we did see a few hawks. Many were circling high above, but some were perched on power poles.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

These roads are not well-traveled . . . in fact, they don’t travel at all; they are always here, and, that I know of, have no plans to see the world.

Also, there’s not much traffic on them, and that makes the hawks kind of skittish when a car stops, an old man gets out, and he points something huge at them.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

This one looks positively mean; they usually sport sort of a goofy look; you know, like teenagers . . . this one must be older.

Them who have read my many hawk posts know that a good signal a hawk is about to take off is that it . . . er . . . evacuates. I missed the act with this next shot, but not by much.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

One last look back at the advancing human . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

. . . and it’s outta here . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

It’s been a while since I’ve shot hawks, so I was happy with these results, especially since the bird did not let me get very close.

This particular drive took us by an old barn I like. I like it primarily because of the texture of the wood.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

But I also like the bird openings.

I’ve never seen birds in those openings, but I can imagine a time gone by when pigeons, doves, or baby dragons would poke their heads out to take their first look at a cold and uncaring world. They are all gone now; some exterminated, some moved into subdivisions, and some are off as extras on a popular HBO series.

We continued along the road discussing the plusses and minuses of various geographic locations. We like the idea of Alaska, just as we like the idea of Hawaii, of Washington, of Wyoming, of  . . . holy crap on a cracker! What was that!?

We had just turned a corner, the road emerging into an open area after having wound through densely wooded terrain, and a very fast bird flew in front of us, banked, and landed on a pole ahead of us. 

Too small for a hawk, too big for a Kestrel, I held my hopes in check as I neared. I parked at some distance so as not to spook the bird, still hoping for . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Yes!

A Prairie Falcon!

I’d caught glimpses of them before, or what I thought might have been falcons, but had yet to photograph one. Obviously, one of the many imaginary gods (I’m hoping it was Zeus) had prompted us to go on this drive just so I could finally capture one.

The SmugMug gallery has more photos since I was following my bird protocol:
1) get out of the car, acquire target, and shoot off a few photos.
2) keep camera trained on bird, and advance 3-4 steps; shoot a few more photos.
3) repeat #2 until close enough or the bird flies off.

The photos seem like the same ones, but each were shot from a position closer than the previous.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Since I crop to the same size, successive shots show the bird as a larger portion of the frame.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Also, as the angle changed, I ended up nearly behind it, but that could not be helped.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

And then it took off . . . holy crap on a cracker, look at that wingspan!

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

I would have loved a frontal shot, but I’ll take what I can get. 

Unlike hawks, these birds move once in flight. These are close crops of shots taken as the bird was moving away pretty quickly . . . did I mention I like this lens?

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Beautiful bird, and I was happy for the chance to finally capture one for this digital canvas.

Did you notice it checking me out as it was flying off? It’s like if we were kindred spirits; it flying off to the freedom of the sky, and me stuck on this rock with politicians, celebrities, and people from various backgrounds with one thing in common . . . mostly, a professed disdain for critical thinking.

We continued our drive, Hawaii gaining points for waves and weather, but losing points for affordability and being able to get away from people . . . it’s an island, and a popular one at that; people are stuffed in every nook and cranny of the place.

On the way back home we chanced on another Red-tailed hawk, and this one played Power-Wires-Poles with me. The game works thus . . . 

. . . I pull up 40 feet or so from the pole where it’s perched, get out of the car, and start snapping as I walk closer . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Note one leg pulled up under its plumage. Anyway, as I get closer, it takes off . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Good take-off, and look at the shots it offered up . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

. . . awesome bird, and I’m really pleased with this next shot . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Look at that form! Look at that visage!

Strength, determination, intensity, the very embodiment of qualities admired by humans the world round . . . except these birds, like many birds that are not crows, are dumber than a doornail.

You see, it flew a wide arc, and landed on a pole about a hundred yards ahead of our location . . . I hop on the car, drive to within 40-50 feet, and repeat .

Birds, Hawks, Falcons
. . . slightly blurred, but I included it to show it had landed . . .

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

More majestic flying, displays of agility and flying prowess as it flew a wide arc, and landed on a pole about a hundred yards ahead of our location . . . I hop on the car, drive to within 40-50 feet, and repeat .

This time it does not wait for me to get fully out of the car . . . it’s learning.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Again, magnificent bird . . . and it flew a wide arc, and landed on a pole about a hundred yards ahead of our location . . . I hop on the car, drive to within 40-50 feet, and repeat .

Except, something must have clicked on it’s tiny bird brain. This time it flies off toward a distant hill before I can get off a shot. I don’t even make it out of the car.

The rest of the drive was uneventful. 

Returning from these drives is a bit like returning to civilization . . . it’s kind of depressing even as we hold onto the memories of what we’ve seen.

Nothing has been resolved as far as places to move. Meanwhile, the world around us continues to go to crap, even as some myopic individuals continue to assert “no, no, it’s all good”.

Amazing how small the world looks when searching for a place away from the things of man.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yodeling
Yodeling

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