A second shot from the sequence of the Red-tailed Hawk at Laudholm Farms on Thursday. Such a handsome bird! Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
Despite my still healing bruised tailbone, I am getting out for photoprowls on my ebike most days when it does not rain all day. Yesterday, after the rain stopped, I rode down to the Bridal Path to check for dragonflies (not yet) and to Rachel Carson to see if the huge Jack-in-the-pulpits were opened out (not yet), and then to finish the circuit rode into the Laudholm Farms parking area before looping back around on Rt. 1 to home (just over 10 miles). I was headed out of the Laudholm parking lot when I caught the hawk on the bluebird boxes behind the hedge at corner. I was able to get off the bike, get my camera out of the rear rack pack, and approach as close as the hedge would allow without the hawk taking alarm, so I got a whole series of photos. It turned out to be an immature Red-tailed Hawk, perhaps drying from the rains in the sun on its handy perch and not in any hurry to go anywhere. Though it might look like it is about to take flight here, anyone who has watched sitting hawks very long knows what comes next…and I have a great photo of the white-wash stream to prove it. They do often fly right after, but this one settled down and remained on the perch until I decided it was time to finish my ride. Sony RX10iv at 840mm equivalent (1.4x Smart Zoom…in-camera crop). Processed in Polarr.
I shared my best single shot of this courting pair of Cedar Waxwings offering an apple petal to each other…but I took more than 50 shots at 3 frames per second as they passed the petals back and forth several times while I watched. This is one sequence. (It reads left to right then down and left to right again.) I am not sure why the female is “puffed out” but it seems to be part of the ritual. Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve) in Wells, Maine. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.
I rode my ebike down to Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve) yesterday to see if I could find any Jack-in-the-pulpit in bloom. I did not, not there, though they are in bloom near the headquarters buildings at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge just up the road. While hiking the boardwalk loop at Laudholm I encountered my first Cedar Waxwings of the season for southern Maine…just a few, in the very tops of the trees…but as I hiked on and turned to come up through the old apple orchards…full of blossoming apple and crab-apple trees…I found more and more waxwings. I had to keep revising my estimate up, but I am convinced there were at least 100, maybe 150, Cedar Waxwings feeding in the apple blossoms. They were all around me, sometimes two dozen or more in a single tree.
I was not far into the Cedar Waxwing experience when a pair landed right in front of me on a low branch. Each had an apple blossom in its beak, and I got to watch as they apparently passed the petals back and forth for several moments. At the very least they were offering the petals to each other. I had never seen that behavior, obviously courting behavior between a pair, before, and found it fascinating. I took a lot of photos, and came home feeling totally blessed to been in the right place at the right time.
When I showed this photo to Carol, she immediately remembered seeing another like it on Facebook already within the past 24 hours. Some searching around found not one, but three other recent photos all taken…from Maine to Michigan…of Cedar Waxwings offering petals…Dogwood and Apple…to each other. A forth appeared in my stream shortly after my search. And who knows how many were posted by people I don’t know. Cleary this behavior is synchronized with the bloom of large white showy flowering trees, and evidently they are, at least this year, all in bloom at the same time across the north east quadrant of the country.
So, as it turns out, this is just my contribution to the courting, petal passing, Cedar Waxwing show. I still feel privileged to have seen it…to have been in the right place at the right time…but I now know myself to only one a small select group of people all across the country to have this experience on the same day. How special is that!
This is not a great photo as photo go. The birds were too far away across the Little River Marsh from the overlook on the Laird-Norton Trail at Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve)…so far away that it took 2x Clear Image (digital) zoom to identify them. And then a heavy crop to make the birds big enough so that you can identify them in the photo. But they are Red-breasted Mergansers, and they were actively displaying and courting, and on the theory that any photo is better than none 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 1200mm equivalent (2x Clear Image Zoom). 1/1000th @ f5 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
Three trees obviously. Pine, Maple, and Birch. Two at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and one just down the road at Laudholm Farms. I don’t know if you can call it a “good” use of an ultra wide frame of view, but I like to try it on occasion. 🙂 Sony a5100 in-camera HDR at 18mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic. The trick of course is to be really close to the tree…but then trees are not that shy.
If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I got more than the one shot I shared of the Red-tailed Hawk at Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at…). And as I mentioned, it allowed me to approach much closer than I expected. This shot is at 1200mm equivalent field of view, but still… Such a magnificent bird!
Sony RX10iii at 1200mm equivalent field of view (2x Clear Image Zoom). 1/500th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my Android tablet.
There is a poem:
When I first pulled into the parking lot
at Laudholm Farms, I glanced out the
driver’s side window to see a hawk
sitting on the Bluebird House 40 yards
away. I grabbed for the camera, but
by the time I got it out and on, and
reached for the handle to roll down
the window, the Hawk was gone.
Surely too big for a Cooper’s Hawk?
Still I got out and wandered over
toward the corner of the woodlot
beyond the bird house, in case it had
not gone far…and, surprise, there it
was on the ground 4 feet behind the
rough hedge along the fence between
the parking lot and field. It was away
again before I could get on it, but it
landed in the low branch of a big oak
at the edge. I got a few shots, mostly
obscured by branches and a few dried
leaves still clinging on…but then it
swooped and landed again on the
ground behind the hedge. Now there
was a big enough gap just there so I
could focus through the winter twigs,
and I took its portrait as it danced and
pounced on something small in the
frozen grasses at its feet. Up again
to perch in an old maple by the road.
This time I caught the unmistakable
flash of rust red on the tail. Ah!
The Red-tailed Hawk perched with its back
to me, and let me get a lot closer than I
expected, looking over its shoulder every
once in a while to see what I was doing.
Magnificent! The beak and eye…the
intricate cryptology of feather detail
of one of nature’s ultimate birds of prey.
In the end it had enough of my looking at it,
and flew off down the treeline another 40
yards. I let it go. Thrilled to my bones,
entirely blessed, to have been part of its day.
This is, clearly, one of the portraits behind the hedge. Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program Mode. 1/800th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Cropped for scale and composition and processed in Snapseed on my Android tablet. Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm in Wells Maine.
The subtle colors with glints of reflected light in the emerging peat bog at Laudholm Farm (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells Maine) form and interesting backdrop for this dried grass head growing up through what looks like it might have been Meadowsweet. One corner of a wet field at Laudholm is slowly turning into a bog, or remains a bog, while the rest of the field dries out. I am not sure which way it is going. In early winter, yesterday when Carol and I visited, it is just an empty stretch of boardwalk, but this little still-life caught my eye.
Sony RX10iii in-camera HDR. 234mm equivalent field of view. Nominal exposure: 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Snapseed on my Android tablet.
This is a collage of two Sanderling shots, taken on Laudholm Beach at the Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms in Wells Maine. I like the light and the sense of movement.
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 @ f7.1. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.