A Grumpy-looking Red-tailed Hawk…

to match my mood.

This will be a short post and at the risk of coming across as a drama king or wimpy whiner I should explain why. Late yesterday afternoon an emergency trip to the dentist revealed that my recent tooth extraction has resulted in a dry socket (I’m one of the lucky 10%…). Thankfully we caught it before the symptoms became truly excruciating but they’re bad enough to make concentration difficult so I chose to make a brief post instead of embarrassing myself by trying to make sense in a more extensive one.

 

1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

I photographed this Red-tailed Hawk four days ago in northern Utah. To me the hawk looks a little grumpy (although that could be a reach to fit my title). This bird was almost like a statue – it barely moved a muscle in the several minutes I spent with it. Since it didn’t want to perform for me I soon drove down the road looking for other birds.

The hawk is partially side-lit and I’m (slightly) annoyed by those dark shadows in the background at right but I always appreciate lichen-encrusted rocks in my settings and I think the bird looks pretty good even in the side light. The one-legged stance indicates the hawk is very relaxed and I like that too.

Ron

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Grooming Loggerhead Shrike

It’s been a while since I’ve been this close to a cooperative shrike.

 

1/2000, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

I photographed the bird yesterday morning on Antelope Island. The perch is cluttered with twigs that aren’t ideal but I usually had a clear view of the shrike and personally I still prefer an “imperfect” natural perch like this to a fence post or wire.

 

 

1/1600, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

Perhaps the reason the shrike was unusually tolerant of my presence was because it was so intent on grooming. The bird worked over a significant portion of its plumage in the few minutes I spent with it. It’s hard for me to get preening shots I like because while they’re grooming birds usually have their nictitating membranes closed but this photo was an exception and I even got a bit of light in the eye.

 

 

1/1600, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

Instead of closing its membrane this bird chose to partially close an eyelid so it could still see what it was doing and that’s something I don’t see very often.

 

 

1/2000, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

I have several shots with the eyelid in this position – perhaps it’s akin to us squinting our eyes in conditions where we need to protect them but still see.

 

 

1/2000, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

The shrike spent a lot of time cleaning its bill on the gnarly branch. I’m not sure why because both sides of it looked clean to me. Maybe this was just a very fastidious bird.

 

 

1/2000, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

After an extended bout of preening and grooming the shrike turned its back to me, gave me one last look and flew off – away from me of course. But I still wasn’t through photographing it.

 

 

1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 1000, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

It landed on another nearby perch and… you guessed it – continued to clean its bill. Despite the twigs in front of its face this photo works for me because of the peek-a-boo effect through the twigs.

Given the cluttered perches these photos are aesthetically lacking but I always enjoy behaviors – even minor everyday behaviors like these. And I love shrikes so I couldn’t resist posting the photos.

Ron

 

 

 

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