Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/7.1, 1/2500s, ISO 800

I made it to EPCAL after work today and worked the Western runway with virtually no birds save for a Northern Harrier along the eastern woodline.  Frustrated and with the window of sunlight quickly closing I headed to the Eastern runway which I have seldom visited.  A gorgeous juvenile Northern Harrier (below) was resting near the runway but was spooked by my approaching vehicle and took off.  Still frustrated in the lack of birds I continued on to the southern end of the runway where I saw a large very dark bird chasing a Northern Harrier which eluded the larger hawk.  The Hawk then turned and flew near my vehicle where I photographed it and assumed it was a dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk which I later confirmed by consulting Jerry Liguori's Hawks from Every Angle: How to Identify Raptors In Flight.  Based on Jerry's descriptions, it's almost certain this is a Adult Male roughie which is darker than the female.

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/7.1, 1/2000s, ISO 800

As the Hawk turned to the North for the tree line, 2 more Northern Harriers appeared and a Red-tailed Hawk joined in the kiting fun... the Harriers and the Roughie clearly didn't get along (below) clashing in mid-air or threatening to anyway.

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/7.1, 1/2500s, ISO 800
The Northern Harrier aborts the harassment mission:

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/7.1, 1/2500s, ISO 800

All in all I counted 6 Northern Harriers on the Eastern runway and 1 on the Western runway.  At least 3 Red-tailed Hawks were perched or flying along the property and of course there was the 1 dark-morph Rough-legged.  Smaller birds were (not surprisingly) unseen.  And here are some more flight shots!

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/7.1, 1/2500s, ISO 800
And a slightly different wing position...

If you love all of the wonders that Long Island has to offer - check out Carl Safina's latest book The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World which takes you on a journey that starts on Long Island and spans the globe.


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