You Never Know What You’ll Find In An Image…

During the painful process of culling I’ve learned to look carefully at each image before pulling the plug on the shot because you never know what might be lurking somewhere in those pixels.  Regular readers are aware that I’ve posted quite a few images of hummingbirds and White-lined Sphinx Moths (also known as hummingbird moths) lately so to avoid saturation it was my intention to refrain from posting any more of them for a while.  But while culling yesterday I noticed something interesting that I thought was worth sharing.

The hummingbirds are slowing down now and it’s been some time since I’ve seen a sphinx moth so three days ago when I spotted this hummingbird hovering further away than I like for photos I fired off a single shot for ID purposes only.  I almost deleted the photo from the thumbnail rather than looking at the entire image but I’m glad I didn’t…

 

rufous hummingbird plus moth 2555b ron dudley

  1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 640, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

because tucked away on one of the flowers was a sphinx moth right in front of the hovering hummingbird (a female Rufous I believe).  I’ve seen each species chase the other one off the flower patch so from the posture of the bird I suspect it’s trying to decide how to react to the presence of the moth.

No, it’s not a great image because of the annoying sunflower twigs from last year and the relatively large crop.  But I’m guessing there aren’t many photos out there that include both a hummingbird and  a hummingbird moth in the same shot, especially with the bird in a nice flight pose and both species relatively sharp.

For that reason I think I’ll keep it.

Ron

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Fighting Red-tailed Hawks

These skirmishes are almost impossible to anticipate when you’re watching one of the birds through a telephoto lens and don’t even know that there’s another one in the area.

 

red-tailed hawk 2907b ron dudley

 1/3200, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

Two days ago this juvenile Red-tailed Hawk was hunting from a sign post and everything seemed to be calm – to the point that I was enjoying the sunflowers in the setting and the irony of the sign it was perched on.  That tranquility didn’t last long…

 

 

red-tailed hawk 2912 ron dudley

  1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

My first hint of possible impending excitement was when the hawk glanced up at something in the sky.  There were blackbirds and a kestrel in the area so I thought one of them might buzz the hawk but for fear I’d miss the action I didn’t dare take my eye away from the viewfinder.

 

 

red-tailed hawk 2917 ron dudley

 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

 This image speaks for itself – incoming!!!

 

 

red-tailed hawk 2919 ron dudley

 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

 I was disappointed that I cut off half of the attacking hawk but at least I got the entire reaction of the perched bird, who then…

 

 

red-tailed hawk 2920 ron dudley

 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

 jumped almost straight up to meet its attacker.

 

 

red-tailed hawk 2921 ron dudley

 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

In the next image there were more clipped body parts but I got the essential elements of the fight – especially those wicked-looking talons and the look of determination from the hawk on the left.  For some reason I’m fascinated by the almost coiled patterns on that birds right wing which remind me a bit of a Nautilus shell.

 

 

red-tailed hawk 2923 ron dudley

 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

This is the last shot I got of the fracas before I lost focus when the birds separated.  Notice how the left wing of the lower hawk intersects the right wing of the other bird.  Immediately after this shot was taken the aggressor landed on the ground to the right of the sign post and the hawk that was originally perched flew off to my left.  Both of these birds are juveniles and it’s very possible that they’re siblings but I really have no idea if that’s the case.

One day I might be lucky enough to capture this kind of behavior without clipping or cutting off body parts but it’s unlikely.  In situations like this with a perched bird I tend to see if I can get close enough for good detail while it’s perched and when it (possibly) takes off.  That’s much too close when two birds are fighting and you never know when it’s going to happen.

Ron

 

 

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