Tails from Vacation

After several hours of bike riding - even riding coaster bikes on relatively flat island roads - one needs a good leg-stretch.  So we hopped off the bikes and walked a short trail through the trees that led out to the salt marsh.  We stopped along the way to obey the signs ("Stop here and look around for signs of wildlife!" etc.) and look at the marsh and into the trees.  Tom likes to look at the little crabs that scuttle across the mud flats while I like to look and listen for birds and mammals.

On the return loop, I heard a bird cry that sounded interesting.  Peering into the trees, I saw a falcon, which/who flew out and across the sky above us.  Very cool.

We were just about back to the bikes when I looked up and saw this beauty sitting very quietly on a pine bough. A female red tailed hawk, about 24" tall, facing into the woods.  (You can see the whole "red tailed" part from the rear view.  The females are larger than the males.) She just sat there while I walked under her with my camera.  She looked straight at me for several minutes as I tried to get a good shot from the front.  The lighting was poor, as were most of the angles available to me in the woods.  I still took a number of photos, just in case one might turn out.  I imagined she was chuckling to herself - silly human, standing there doing the same thing over and over again as if the next time might be different.

As I walked back toward the bikes, she turned to watch me over her shoulder.  So I took a couple more photos while she continued to just sit there on her branch.  This one turned out.


Ray Barnes said…
Terrific picture Penny. Well done.
It was really worth the effort wasn't it? Even if just for the expression of contempt on the birds face.
Thanks, Ray. It was absolutely worth the effort. And with some photo editing software, I've been able to rehabilitate a couple of the shots from the front, too. I found this interaction to be fascinating - I was in her territory, and she kept her cool, and I tried to be as respectful as I could as well. When she turned back toward the marsh, she seemed sure that I wouldn't do any harm and could go back to her own work.