(8 December 2014)
* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *


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Date: 8 December 2014
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8 December 2014


Tue, 09 Dec 2014 09:04:53 -0600
Roadrunner and Sharp-shinned Hawk in the backyard. 8 December 2014
A couple of images from the afternoon of December 8th, including a little story on the Sharp-shinned Hawk...

The roadrunner is becoming more and more habitualized as it is becoming more comfortable with my presence, since I offer him the occasional handout. He comes to expect it now! He allowed me some up-close portrait photography and many times would come inside the minimum focus distance of my 600mm lens! I will have to start shooting him now with the 70-200mm lens!

I finally had my first Sharp-shinned Hawk show up! A juvenile, he was patiently waiting right next to the trap. I went out there to get one of the two remaining trapped male HOSPs, and the sharpie had his eyes set on me, from a perch about 25 yards away, and what I was doing. I clipped the HOSP's wings and approached the sharpie, who was now perched atop one of the neighbor's pines about 70 yards away. I released the HOSP, but I apparently clipped so much of its primaries that it could not get off the ground. It quickly found a clump of tall grass for cover, so I went over there to find him. In the meantime, Sharpie moved perches and I didn't know it. I assumed he was in the same place, so I re-released the HOSP toward the tree where I thought he was. I was like "oh crap, where did Sharpie go?" So I went after the HOSP again (poor thing was making distress calls), to capture it and put it back in the holding area of the trap. Well, seconds later I hear this "WHOOSH!" and sure as shit, it was Sharpie. It flew past me on my left like maybe 7 or 8 feet away and snatched the HOSP. It didn't even know it was coming, and neither did I! Amazing. Anyway, I didn't feel so bad for the HOSP, because it didn't suffer long, I'm sure, and I fed a hungry juvenile accipiter. I'm hoping the Sharpie hangs around now, although I'm not sure how the roadrunner would feel about that. So much drama in the back yard now!
(click on thumbnails for pop-up of larger images)