Red-shouldered Hawk: Orlando Wetlands Park, Christmas Florida, USA, January 2024 — There were quite a few Red-shouldered Hawks working Orlando Wetlands Park when I visited during the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival last month. This one came in close and got itself out on the more precarious spindly branches of the tree, apparently in search of the moss, or something in the moss. I suspect it was attempting to gather nesting materials, as a google search turned up the fact that Red-shouldered Hawks are known to line their nests with moss. The light was subdued, but it was fun to watch as the hawk struggled to maintain its balance while busy with the moss. OM Systems OM-1 with ED 100-400mm IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Photomator.
American Black Duck: York County, Maine, USA, February 2024 — The other surprise (besides the Bohemian Waxwing) of my early Sunday morning photo outing was 2 pair of American Black Ducks keeping company with the growing flock of Canada Geese in the tidal creek at the mouth of our local river. This is another bird that I have only seen a few times in Maine, and not for a long time. Again, maybe I have not been looking the right places at the right times, but my impression is that our strange winter is bring out many birds I have not seen in years. (Though American Black Duck is still shown as common along the Maine Coast year-round in the field guides, a bit more research tells me that though once the most common dabbling duck in Eastern North America, populations have radically declined due to habitat loss over the last century, to the point were the Black Duck is a species of concern to many. Though they look like (and may actually be) Mallards they do not seem to be as resilient in the long run.) OM Systems OM-1 with ED 100-400mm IS zoom at 800mm equivalent (heavily cropped). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Photomator.