Coyotes or Hawks

It was only 11 degrees and dark out when I left my car in search of those coyotes that I’d seen the day before. I wore plenty of layers but had only a pair of thin gloves on. It’s important for me to be able to feel the controls on my camera. I was hoping my fingers wouldn’t get too cold.

It was important to be in place with my predator call before the sun came up. It’s about a mile hike to where I was headed and did I say it was cold?  There was no way to be quiet as the snow was crunching loudly as I walked. Perhaps once I set up and stayed still, whatever I spooked away would come back once the sun came up.

After getting to my selected spot, I set everything up making sure the light would be at the right angle should the coyotes show. Just when the light was almost bright enough, I had my first visitor. It came from behind me and flew only a few feet above my head.  I was hoping that it was an owl but…

It flew only a few feet above my head
It flew only a few feet above my head

It’s a Red-tailed Hawk! As you can see, there’s hardly enough light. Surely, it was looking for a quick meal.

I can hear it but what is it?
I can hear it but what is it?

It stayed on that branch for quite a while trying to figure out what was making the noises that sounded like a coyote pup. Early morning light is terrific. It really makes everything have that soft golden glow.

If I move closer, maybe I'll see breakfast.
If I move closer, maybe I’ll see breakfast.

It suddenly moved to a lower branch to get a closer look.

I just don't get it!
I just don’t get it!

Then one step… branch closer.

Even a little closer!
Even a little closer!

It still didn’t seem to be able to determine what the noise was all about so it flew to another branch probably to look at it from a different angle.

Maybe if I move over here I'll see it better.
Maybe if I move over here I’ll see it better.

It stayed there for quite some time then flew to a pole that was behind the pine tree where I was hiding.  It knew I was there alright because it had looked at me several times. Even though I was only about 50 yards away, it didn’t seem to be bothered by my presence.

Moving away
Moving away

It stayed on that pole above me for some time then flew back to the tree where the predator call was hanging. By that time, I’d been photographing this hawk for about an hour and the good light was fading. I had been out in the cold for about two and a half hours and my fingers were frozen. It was time to leave. As I walked to the tree to get the predator call, the hawk just stayed there only a few feet above me. It didn’t see me as a threat at all. VERY COOL!

Bye Bill! It was fun.
Bye Bill! It was fun.

This was the last photo that I took of it as I walked away.

The coyotes never showed. That’s not totally unexpected. I’ve read that because of human activity, they seem to have become more nocturnal than they once were and now do much of their hunting at night.  After all, I first saw them yesterday just before sundown.

I thought that I might have better luck seeing them in the evening so I decided to try again closer to sundown.  Three in the afternoon seem like a good time to start. The temperature was in the mid 30’s so it was much warmer than this morning. Yes, after quite some time, my fingers finally did thaw out. 🙂

Well, about the only critters that came by were these guys. As you may know, they have excellent eyesight and hearing. Once they spotted me, they were on the run!

YIKES! Let's get out of here!
YIKES! Let’s get out of here!

Red-tail came back for a little while but went on its way to do some serious hunting.

Looking for dinner
Looking for dinner

As I was gathering my gear to leave, I noticed these critters watching me. Notice the little one on the left side. It was especially fun to watch as it frolicked around. I never get tired of watching them especially when they’re so inquisitive.

What do you guys think he's doing?
What do you guys think he’s doing?

While the coyotes never showed, I still had a great time photographing some wonderful critters especially the Red-tailed Hawk. It was great to be out even in the cold. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Thanks for stopping by!

Bill