Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Red-tail Update: The Ms Do Something? Just Exactly What Isn't at All Clear

I was driving down County Rd. M, scanning for the Red-tailed Ms, and sure enough there was the formel on her power pole. Having had enough of looking at her back the last time round, I decided to drive up the road adjacent to the pole, and then turn around so I could see her front. Well, I hadn't taken into account the lack of plowed verge so I did have her front, but I was extremely far away. She of course looked my way but did stay sitting, and scanning. I'd noticed on the way in that there were small flocks of birds foraging on the land around her. I couldn't tell the species I'm afraid, but they were bigger than sparrows and smaller than Robins, with a pale anterior and a brownish unstreaked back. I know that's only about 50 different birds.

She kept scanning and I attempted to creep up a little.

Then she was off, though I'm not sure if it was me or if she was after something.

She curves.

She looked like she was folding her wings and going closer to the ground which gave me the impression she was after something.

Then she began flapping again. Note as she is going towards the left there is a bird flying right, hot winging it for the cover of the Spruce tree.

She flies on.

Over one of the Gilmour's buildings

Now I'm not sure if the bird just above the leafless small trees on the left is Mrs. M or if it is another bird.

I think that was another bird because here comes the formel into frame on the right. Is she chasing that bird?

There is a bird up and slightly left of the left most evergreen. That's the mystery bird.

Because here comes Mrs. M. Both then head across the field beyond a barn and silo and out of sight. For some reason I look back toward her power pole.

And look who is in one of the trees in that direction. It's got to be Mr. M. I can't find him in my initial photos but I they don't show that particular tree. He could have been there all the time or he may just have slipped in when the formel left. One pair of eyes just isn't enough to keep up with two crafty hawks.

This is how he looks to the naked eye.

He leans forward toward the field.

I look over and the formel and the mystery bird have reappeared from behind the barn and silo.

Here's a crop.

The smaller bird doesn't take to the Spruce but rather flies in the tree line.

As does the hawk.

The smaller bird now seems to be curving back in an invisible circle toward the direction in which I and the tiercel are situated.

He's still in the tree leaning forward watching with acute focus.

Here's a crop of the previous photo.

Then he's up and traveling in the treeline on a curve in the opposite direction from where the formel started. He curves towards her and she curves toward him making a big O if both flights were connected.

He comes out of the twigs and looks to be attempting to catch an air current for some altitude.

He gets some height and then flaps like crazy closing in on the area in which the formel and mystery bird were last seen coming his direction. I've completely lost track of the other two.

Then Mr. M crashes through branches makes a right turn back toward the horizon in the photo. Suddenly everyone is out of my range of sight. What just happened? Did the formel herd the mystery bird the tiercel's way and then he nabbed it or was he hunting something else altogether? Curiouser and curiouser.

Donegal Browne

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