Sightings!

I went on a very exciting adventure, this evening! I am going to tell the story backwards, because the most exciting part came first and I want to build up to it, so you’ll have to wait for it!

I’ve been trying for some time to capture a snowy owl and a hawk that are frequently seen in a specific spot near here. I’ve seen both – the owl one other time before today and the hawk several times – but I haven’t been able to get any decent photos…..until tonight! I am beyond excited! Here’s what happened:

I drove out to the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge to see if I could finally get a photo of the hawk that can usually be seen there in the trees just off the road. When I was done there (that’s the part you have to wait for), I headed over to Batavia to see if I could catch a good photo of the snowy owl that likes to hang out at the airport. I have gone out there to see the owl two previous times – I found her the first time, but she was so far away – I did get better photos than I thought I had, but I had to crop it to enlarge her enough to see her! The second time I went, she was no where to be found! But…..I was really happy to easily find her, tonight, and although she was still a little far off into the field, she was much closer than the last time!

The photos I took the first time I saw the snowy owl on Feb 3rd:

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Look close – she’s on the ground to the left of that orange post in the center of the photo!

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Here is the same photo – cropped to bring her in closer. Although a little blurry, I was excited to get any photo!

Here are the photos I took tonight – Feb 21:

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Still had to crop the photo to bring her in close, but a much better shot – she was a lot closer in the field this time!

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And, cropped even closer…..blurry, but so exciting!!!

I’m going to keep trying to catch her closer to the road, but if I don’t, I’m still so very happy to have seen her at all!

Now…..for the more adventurous part of the evening!

As I said, I went out to the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge specifically to try to get a photo of the hawk that hangs out there near the road. I have seen him several times – sometimes I don’t have a camera with me and the camera on my iPhone wouldn’t have been the right camera to get a good photo of him – other times, I had the camera, but as soon as I pulled over to snap him, he flew away! I haven’t been able to get a decent shot of him! But, tonight, I vowed to be patient and hang out as long as it took to find him and photograph him……and my patience paid off!!!

I found him right away, but, again, he flew off as soon as I pulled over! But, I followed him by driving up the road that goes back into the refuge. I found him perched on a tree off in the distance. I shot a few photos from there thinking that if I crop it, I might have an “OK” shot. Here is what I got in those first few photos:

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I decided to wait and see what he would do next and hoped that he’d fly closer. Shortly after I took these photos, he flew off after a flock of birds and disappeared:

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I drove further down the road into the refuge and came up on a waterfowl overlook. I waited there for a little bit, but didn’t see anything – although it was so peaceful and pretty, I considered hanging out a while……but, reminded myself of my mission and headed back up the road towards the main road to see if I could find my elusive friend, again!

Suddenly, he came swooping in just above the ground right along side of the road, but, of course I was driving and not prepared to get a photo!!! I pulled right over, but he was gone from sight in no time flat! So, I pulled up a little ways and turned off the engine and waited and watched! Then – off in the distance, I saw him fly in to perch on a tree……and discovered a bonus – he had a friend in that tree with him – TWO hawks in one tree!!!

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See them? One close to the top of the photo and one more obvious one close to the bottom of the photo!

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I sat there, patiently, waiting to see what they were going to do next and they soon both flew off – in the direction headed away from me deeper into the woods – no way to tell where they went! So, I stayed were I was and waited…..and waited…..and waited……and just about the time I decided to give up and be thankful for the shots I got, here he came back – right there in a tree just a stone’s throw from my car!!! EUREKA!!!! Patience paid off…..big time!!!

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Isn’t he just gorgeous????? And, then, while I was still holding the camera focused on him, he flew off so that I could get some mid-flight shots of him – just as if he were performing just for me and my camera!

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I had to flip a coin to choose my favorite shot of the evening – it was between the last one above and the next one – this one won the grand prize:

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I am still all a-flutter inside from the excitement!!! I lucked out at both locations and am so happy!

So…..how did YOUR day compare to this???

2 Comments on “Sightings!

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