Saturday, March 19, 2016

Continued...Another Red-tailed Hawk, Another Deer...

And around the next curve, another deer  stands contemplating me.  This one stands his ground and I continue on my way on foot.
 A Redtail flies over my head.

Then she heads toward the treeline, flies deftly through the branches and is lost to distance.

 The Seventh Fence Post Nest....
 The nest does not appear to hold a sitting bird.  Is it too early?  Or is this an alternate nest that wasn't chosen this year?  Back to the circuit.
I come round the curve....ah, this is likely the Red-tail we just saw go into the treeline.
 I'm distracted by a pair of Mallards paddling in tandem in the creek.
 The hen's bill drips with water plants.  Yes, I know...what is the Red-tail up to?  
She's still there.
In the blink of an eye she's standing, watching something beneath her.

And either it flew, or something else more interesting did.

And she's off!  I see her go off and then veer left into the trees, but then...?
 Where is she?  Maybe she didn't come this far.  Back track.
 There she is!
 It's getting dark.  Soon she'll no longer be visible. 
 She's still watching.
And watching...
And waiting.  
This is the actual view and I'm beginning to loose her in the distance from lack of light but so far she is still there. (Center)
Good night Red-tail, and happy hunting.

Donegal Browne

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Hunting Red-tailed Hawk and a Pair of Fascinating White-tailed Deer

 All times PM

4:55:30  It is a dark day,  chilly with a thin layer of snow on the ground.  One of the favorite hunting perches for raptors in the Brodhead Conservation Area is being used today by a male Red-tailed Hawk.  I'm told that he is known as Speed. 
                         And  he is giving me a look.  

 4:55:57  Then it is back to business.  I don't know what he sees but he is looking at it fixedly.

4:56:06   A Red-tailed Hawk at this distance and much closer in Central Park would give me not the least time of day but here I could conceivably interrupt his hunt so I go on my way.  I'll check back.

5:04:16 No action at the Teneyke Eagle Nest.
5:06:47 Further down the road, two White-tailed Deer interrupt their browsing to stare.  I stop and stare and the does stare some more.

5:06:56  We stare at each other.  Then left deer jumps round on her little hooves.  Right dear continues to stare.

5:06:57  One second later her tail flips up and she's heading  toward the woods.  Hence the name, of course, White-tailed Deer.  The top of her tail is the same color as the rest of her top side.  
5:06:57  Within the same second, the second deer has turned, flipped tail up and they are running for cover.
 5:06:58   Notice they aren't running straight for the woods, but rather doing a breaking run mixed with leaping.  As to the white flipping tail, that is to attract the attention of the predator to the rear end of the animal, much in the same way most pigeons have a light rump patch that also attracts the eye and evolutionarily speaking gives a greater shot at survival.  The end of the animal is gone by the time the predator leaps for the spot.

5:07:02 An excellent example of broken field running and that bright white under tail that catches the eye.  Then something amazing happens.  Hmm, the animal that waited is now the animal who is ahead.
5:07:02  Note this is the same second as the previous photograph.  The lead deer leaps high in the air, (6 feet or so?) the tail comes down  obscuring the white bottom of the tail and the white part of the rear of the deer.
5:07:03 It is one second later and by this point the second deer is doing nothing more than a less than speedy trot.  Dum de dum...see the first deer back lit by the snow in the woods left?

 Actually due to the behavior I'm beginning to think that  the leaping deer is a stag.  At this time of year, deer antlers are just beginning to grow so unless you check out the genitalia of a deer, which isn't all that easy, any deer could be either.
 Here's an interesting factoid.  Whitetail deer antlers are one of the fastest growing tissues known to man.   Wow.
5:07:06   Back to our saga,  he waits vigilant, and she trots toward the cover.
5:07:22  The doe stops and looks back at me.
5:07:36  Then she turns and ducks her head into what  I now realize are raspberry brambles upon scrutiny.  A reason that the stag may have leapt them I suppose.  The doe ducks her head and flattens her ears.  The stag now looks out into the area where I assume they will go next.  Always vigilant.
5:07:38  And she's gone.  And I go too.

To be continued...

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Adventures of the Stealthy Belly Band, the Red-tailed Hawk.

When last we met, Belly Band the Red-tailed hawk, whom I was leaning toward being the female of the pair, was heading off into the distance.

 In actuality this is what she looked like using my long lens so in actuality she was about twice as far away as this view and no more than a speck.
  I cropped this down so you could see BB's wing span. That is definitely more of a female span than a male's.  She's gliding, looking around.
She catches an updraft.
 She starts to gain altitude.  There is no flapping involved here.

 She's still gaining altitude.  She's now at the top of that ribbon of blue sky.


                            She tips up slightly.

 She banks left.  Yes, the bird is still Belly Band.  They've switched off so many times I keep checking whenever I get a chance.
Her right wing tip flips up.  
She heads towards a wood lot.  Suddenly there is the most gosh awful ruckus over my head.

It's a flock of geese trying to arrange themselves into a tidy flying V and everyone has something to say.

The cacophony continues but things are shaping up. 

  I often wonder if they are honking get out of the way or make room or here I come or whether it is just a sound cue so everyone knows where everyone else is?


Then I realize....where did the hawk go?  DRAT!  I look back.  She of course is long  gone having taken her chance to disappear while I was distracted.

We shall meet again!

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne