From season to season the park is constantly changing, but sometime it changes drastically overnight – as it did when we received a foot of snow in a couple of days.
Tag Archives: red tailed hawk
Daylight time has gone. Today I ate lunch at 11.30 since my stomach is still on its former schedule. Before the light faded this afternoon I decided to head out around the lake for a quick walk before dark. Good thing too, because the sun was sinking low as I left. I grabbed the camera on my way out, and fixed the big zoom lens, just in case. I haven’t carried this camera for months, but I had a hunch today might be the day – the day the owl returns. Until recently the leaves have been hiding the life that is now visible since they are rapidly falling. What they reveal is very interesting.
Well, sometimes you get lucky. As soon as I entered the copse of trees where the owl can often be found in November, I spotted one, and the sun was lighting it up as if it had been placed there as the perfect setup just waiting for me to come along. I wiggled my way into the brush to get a bit closer and tried to find a line of sight that didn’t have branches in the way.
Satisfied with some decent pics I continued on my way, taking a diversion to check for horned owls in another part of the wood where they have been known to hang out, but they weren’t about, or couldn’t be seen if they were. Back on the main path, a doe jumped out in front of me and into the brush. Then I spotted her mate half hidden behind a tree. He cautiously came out and I got a shot of him crossing the path. With his pointy antlers I stayed well away in case he took a notion to shoo me off. I didn’t notice the odd antler that looks like it sprouted from between his eyes! Just a few yards further on I looked up to see a huge paper wasp nest that was now in plain sight.
Continuing on I crossed the new floating bridge and was pleased that the far end of the trail will never again be flooded over, since they raised a berm there about 4 feet high. Around the backside and turning east I glanced up to see a Red Tailed Hawk sitting in a bare tree, and right below it another large dangling wasp nest. I crept as close as I could to get a better shot of the hawk, expecting it to take off at any second, but it seemed to be watching things on the ground and it chose to ignore me. Often they depart as soon as I start approaching.
The south side of the lake has now flooded again as it does once the rain comes, and the slough was filled with ducks and geese. Way off in the distance near some tall firs I thought I saw an eagle fly past.
Once I rounded the last side of the circle I spied a pair of Bald Eagles wheeling and spinning over a small flooded meadow. They dropped down as if to grab a fish not once but several times and scattered a flock of ducks and birds.
The pair landed beside the water, a rare sight, and I watched them have a drink.
Then they left and the ducks all soon reappeared as if nothing had happened.
Back to the nest this afternoon, and the momma was sitting there when we arrived. No babies yet. Once again it was sunny and windy. I sat on the opposite side of the sun and tried to get some shots but the light was bad. Just then I looked up and there right above the nest, perhaps within 20 feet, sat a very windblown red tailed hawk. It too had the sun at its back so I had to move about to try and get a shot from a better angle. I was going from hawk to hummingbird, adjusting my camera and trying for a good shot all the while the wind was blowing the hawk’s feathers and the hummingbird nest all over the place.
I bet the hummingbird knew the hawk was there – she hardly moved while we observed her, the hawk right above her nest.
A few people passed by and didn’t notice anything, so we didn’t bother to tell them what we were looking at either. Further on we saw numerous birds and one oddity – a Rufous, or Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), an uncommon bird hereabouts.
The regular crowd was out too; one Great Blue Heron, Mallards, Song Sparrows, Coots and Stellar’s Jays
Today on the trail I met two chaps observing something through a huge 3′ telescopic lens. I stopped to chat, curious about what they were looking at. It was a hummingbird nest.
I looked but didn’t see it at first, thinking it must have been 100 feet away. But it wasn’t – it was close at hand right on top of a bare branch, exposed to the weather. The mother returned and flitted around for a minute or so before a lighting on the branch, whereupon she began feeding the babies. I could see wide open tiny yellowish beaks from where I stood, but there was no sound. The big camera began clicking away and I didn’t want to horn in while watching, so I waited until many pictures had been taken then raised my own camera and focused on the mother. She stopped feeding, looked up and flew away. I did get one picture of her, however.
Not far from there I saw a squirrel lying unusually still.
The field nearby is full of daffodils.
Going through the pictures from the last month I was struck by how much the weather has changed. In February we had plenty of snow.
Today when the sun came out it seemed like winter was long gone. Three days ago I saw a turtle, sunning.
People here are saying spring is a month later than normal.
Today in the park, I saw some new wildlife at long last. I can’t fathom why the past month or so has seemed so utterly barren of birds out there. But today all seems suddenly better. There was a Great Blue Heron preening as I walked out onto the floating bridge. Then a Cormorant came along.
Nothing exciting, I carried on to a bridge over the creek that flows out of the lake.
Then I spied the Hawk in a tree. Haha! It was back. I stepped off the path and took a picture with the long lens, then hurried forward. By the time I reached the tree in question the hawk was up circling.
Nearby I saw a Cat on the path.
I carried on, and came to a Spider that had just strung a line of web across the path. It must have just done so as only minutes prior several runners came along from that direction, and the web was at chest height.
Further walking and I detected a soft squeaking noise Looking up I saw a Woodpecker excavating a deep hole in a dead branch. It went right inside and came out with a beak full of wood fibre.
Carrying on I saw another Cat in the field, and it seemed to be waiting for a Mouse to come along.
Not far beyond I came to a man holding a Snake he’d found beside the creek. He was looking down at another Snake in the leaves. He told me that he’d seen a Barred Owl yesterday. So they are here, but I haven’t seen them yet.
Besides this there were numerous Towhees, Tits, Sparrows, Robins, Gulls and Squirrels black and grey. Also a man taking pictures, and another one shoveling wood chips from a pile into a wheelbarrow.
Now I must to my typewriter to write my daily words for NaNoWriMo. I’ve done it 5 times already, so it’s a habit now. This year I’m trying something different, a memoir… if only I could remember everything.
There has been a noticeable shift in the weather lately – despite almost constant rain for days, the sun’s warmth can be felt when it deigns to shine. Spring means migration, and the appearance of birds which either left town or went into hiding over the winter. I also got a very close look at the heretofore very shy muskrat, which inexplicably one day last week stood its ground despite the loud attention of numerous enthusiastic kids, and me with my camera almost in it’s face. Only the attack of an irate duck sent it on it’s way. Green buds abound in the brush, and in the field I saw new flowers poking up suddenly.
Between wet squalls
sunshine and rainbows
the lake trail calls me
Down the street the trail forks
which is the road less traveled
on a circle?… no matter
I choose right
by far the most frequent choice
I am habituated
Prepared for whatever
two cameras ready
one for close up, one far away
At the floating bridge I wait
at hand the short telephoto
hoping to catch the muskrat
I’ve seen it rarely
small brown rodent in the rushes
shiny wet hairy junior football
Each time I see
it sees me too
I blink and it’s gone
In the bushes I detect
kinglets, hairy woodpeckers, finches
they too elude the camera
Halfway round luck changes
a hummingbird, tired of diving
rests close at hand, flashing green
The sun peeks in and out
the rainbow waxes and wanes
several runners pass
At the Garry Oak meadow something very tiny
even smaller – maybe a Calliope
Sun in my eyes, I move down
into the grass to look for it
but it buzzes away
While I wait
from out of the trees
a Red Tailed Hawk appears
It makes a line
straight towards the tree
the lone tree it calls home
In the field I look up
there looping about the sky
an eagle soars
Perfectly lit by the low sun
the eagle circles
while I focus
Later on I reflect on pictures
the tiniest and the
mightiest of birds