The red-tail hawk in the rain.

I arrived late in the botanical garden. It was a very cloudy day but I had thought that it would be a dry day but in the end it was anything but. I had purposely waited until 09:00 to take the bus but still had to contend with bad weather.

Here I was, walking with my camera and looking for a subject to photograph. With no snow on the ground and few birds, I was left with the prospect of trying to find mushrooms. Add to that low light and a small drizzle and one can see that I was less than enthusiastic about my prospects. It is the time of the year when a photographer has to be creative.

I had been walking for well over an hour and I still had nothing to show for except two pictures of some lowly mushrooms growing by the side of a dead tree. Nothing to crow about I would say.

I thought finally that swinging by the bird feeding stations would be a good idea. I was still hoping to see some birds so I began walking in the direction of one station that was near a small wooded area, at the junction of two small roads. A stream was also flowing nearby. Generally it is not the best feeding station as foot traffic can be intense at times.

I was walking along the trail when all of a sudden my eye caught something whitish on a branch high besides the feeding station. I approached cautiously and using the zoom on my camera began to examine this. As I looked I realized that it was a hawk, a red-tail hawk. I was besides myself.

This hawk does often frequent the garden but it is hard to see and harder to photograph as it tend to be quite high, looking on the ground for small rodents and birds. Not knowing if it was very skittish I approached slowly, taking a series of pictures in case it flew away, but luckily it did not.

I continued my approach until I was facing it. I then extended my monopod to the ground and began taking some more pictures. By then it was still drizzling but harder. I had my plastic bag protecting my camera as well as my lens, but not completely.

The bird was very much looking in the direction of the feeding station. It often would look at me as well, probably wary of what I was doing. It flew several times around the area, going from one branch to another. I could distinctly see its red tail sticking out. It is a massive bird much bigger than a Cooper’s hawk. I am always amazed how it can fly so silently and not uttering a cry.


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