Eagles Having Breakfast Until…..

These three immature eagles seem to enjoy sharing breakfast with each other yesterday morning at Squaw Creek National Refuge until…..

Eagles sharing breakfast
Eagles sharing breakfast

An uninvited guest drops in to see what they were having for breakfast…..

Where did he come from?
Where did he come from?

They didn’t seem to like having this uninvited guest join them. I wonder why?

Let me get a closer look
Let me get a closer look

The mature eagle goes right for their meal._BBA9295-Edit

The immature eagles quickly get out of its way. As you can tell, the old guy doesn’t seem too worried about being out numbered.

MMM... This looks good!
MMM… This looks good!

It as though it’s telling the immature eagles its intentions which they may not like.

I believe there's only enough for one... ME!
I believe there’s only enough for one… ME!

Then it looked and sounded like the old guy was laughing at the youngsters. Perhaps it was just saying “Thanks!” What do you think?

Say What?
Say What?

While the others protested, the old guy flew off with its early morning catch of the day.  The immature eagles flew after it but to no avail.

Thanks for breakfast guys!
Thanks for breakfast guys!

This all happened in about two minutes time frame. I was so lucky to have been at the right spot at the right time. I almost didn’t stop to photograph the three eagles eating because they were so far way. The mature eagle showing up was a terrific surprise.

Even with my 200-400 mm lens with the 1.7x converter, I knew the photos wouldn’t be all that great. They have been cropped so that you could see what’s going on a little better. That’s why they are so soft.  I hope you’ve enjoyed them anyway..

I got so lucky to witness such a cool event and I just had to share it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Bill

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

Found those coyotes!

A biologist friend had told me about them but I hadn’t had much luck finding them. We had a pretty good snow storm yesterday and it seemed like the Polar Vortex returned, so I was quite sure not many people would be out to spook them so I went looking for them. I started my search about an hour and a half before sunset. It was a bit chilly, only 19 or 20 degrees, so I didn’t bring my normal 200-400mm lens. It’s heavy and I thought the 28-300 mm would be easier to carry just in case I slipped or fell on the ice or snow.

Well after about a 40 minute hike, I saw something in the distance looking back at me! Then, it sudden disappeared, sort of… (Now, these photos have been cropped so they aren’t as sharp as I’d like but I thought you might like to see what I’ll be going after very early tomorrow morning.)

I hope he didn't see me!
I hope he didn’t see me!

Can you see it trying to sneak away and not be detected? Then suddenly, there was two of them!

We had better hightail it out of here!
We had better hightail it out of here!

They would not let me get any closer than 100 to 150 yards or so to them but what a treat to finally see them.

Lone Coyote
Lone Coyote

Now that I know where they are, I’m going back tomorrow morning before dawn. I’ll  bring along a predator call to see if I can call them in closer. I’ll also have my big lens so maybe, just maybe, I’ll get lucky again. With wildlife photography, as you know, there are no guarantees .

As I was leaving the area, I looked behind me to see this beautiful sunset. Even if I had not seen the coyotes, the sunset was worth being out in the cold this evening.

Red at Night, Sailor's Delight!
Red at Night, Sailor’s Delight!

Thanks for stopping by!

Bill