Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Along Harper's Run

Kali didn't have to go to work yesterday, and I took left work1-1/2 hours early (hey, I had to work three hours on Saturday) in order to enjoy a late afternoon walk on a beautiful autumn day with bright sunshine and temperatures in the upper 60s.  We decided to walk at the county park downstream of the preserve for a change of scene.

Part of the walk in the park takes us alongside a modest but picturesque stream called Harper's Run.  Just after we parked and started upstream along the creek, a hawk flew in from the surrounding woods and landed smack dab in the middle of the creek, and then just sat there, tail fanned out, watching us.  We approached slowly and cautiously, and the hawk flew up out of the creek and onto the rocks alongside.  At that point, I could see that it was carrying something in its talons, but I couldn't tell what.  I pulled out the camera and cranked up the telephoto into the "digital telephoto" range, hoping to get a decent shot despite heavy shade.  I present the best of the five images I captured.  The hawk is a Cooper's Hawk (I couldn't tell in the field), and it appears to have captured a young squirrel (soggy from sitting in the creek).  As we got closer, the hawk carried its meal off to a tree and disappeared.


John Gray said...

lovely shot of the hawk
we have some similar ones here they are called sparrowhawks

Carolyn H said...

Love that Cooper's Hawk!!

The Musical Gardener said...

Nice shot of the hawk.

You asked on my blog about supply teaching - same as sub teaching. It's what I do for a living since working in industry headed east.

Scott said...

Thanks for your comments, folks. I was surprised how well the image came out, considering I was using the digital zoom and the light was so low. (This was the best of six photographs that I took; three of the others were so blurry that I deleted them immediately).

And, John, your Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) and the North American Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) are in the same genus, so they're closely related.

Grizz………… said...

Good Cooper's shot, given the circumstances…and that's one bedraggled (and dead) gray squirrel. Haven't seen a Cooper's around here for a while, though they're regular (daily) visitors throughout the winter. Guess the local food supply is still abundant and easy, and there's no need yet to stalk feeder birds.

It's raining here today. I'm sitting in with my recuperating dog, watching a heron on the river while sipping coffee from a certain special mug.

Scott said...

Grizz: There are a lot of Cooper's Hawks here. I've got a pair that has nested on the property for the last several years. They seem to be becoming more numerous in the wooded suburbs here every year. I love to hear them make their nasal "kack, kack, kack" call as they zoom through the canopy. Sometimes I find, though, that the Blue jays have taken to imitating them.

I hope Moon-the-Dog continues to recuperate successfully. I wouldn't have guessed that such a surgery would be so touch-and-go, but it may have been because the blockage had progressed so long before it was addressed.

packrat said...

Beautiful photos, Scott, especially the Cooper's Hawk; though I must say that the last four or five of your posts have had outstanding images.

These Autumn shots remind me of my native Ohio, and at times I miss those impressionistic splashes of color.

Scott said...

Thanks for your compliment, Packrat. It's (relatively) easy to make striking images this time of year, though.

A few years ago, my dad moved from Ohio to San Diego. He told me the two things he misses the most are (1) autumn and (2) moisture, since it's always so dry in SoCal.