Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rough-Legged Hawk at EPCAL

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/8, 1/2000s, ISO 640
Dune Rd. yesterday was sparse with only a few Northern Harriers and an Adult Black Crowned-Night Heron being of note.  So in an attempt to salvage the day I took a trip to EPCAL with my girlfriend riding shotgun as a spotter in hopes of getting something of interest.  EPCAL was surprisingly sparse - but it wasn't long before my spotter saw a hawk circling above which I identified as a Rough-legged Hawk thanks to the brown patches on the underwing.  We were able to observe the Hawk for some time hovering low and high over the snow covered grasslands in pursuit of food.  It landed a couple of times but never came away with food.  As the sun was setting and the Hawk headed further from us we called it a night and left.

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/8, 1/2000s, ISO 640

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/8, 1/2000s, ISO 640

Nikon D300 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/8, 1/1600s, ISO 500, -.33 Exposure Comp
Here is a video of the bird hunting with some of the buildings at EPCAL in the background:

A Return visit to EPCAL this morning did not yield the Roughie, but rather two Northern Harriers, a Red-Tailed Hawk perched high in a tree and two Horned Larks.  There also were 3 different groups of deer totaling about 50 on the southeastern portion of the runway which was a cool and rarely seen event on Long Island.

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC,  f/9, 1/1600s, ISO 400
And here is the Northern Harrier:

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC,  f/9, 1/400s, ISO 400
And lastly, the aforementioned Black-crowned Night Heron.  This photo is full frame to give you an idea of how close I was (whereas most of the above images were cropped to 25% of the original):

Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC., f/8, 1/1250s, ISO 500, -.33 Exposure Comp.
For an excellent book you can use to identify raptors from afar - pre-order Jerry Liguori's Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors 


  1. That Heron photo is beyond gorgeous! Great capture!

  2. Luke - these are all wonderful shots. The pix of the roughy are very informative. ANd the book is on my "wish list" on AMazon.

  3. Glad I could be of assistance! Thanks for the compliments, both of you.