Circle of Life Plays Out in a Theatre Far Away

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!  Not sure if I am going to get around to posting tomorrow, so thought I would go ahead and put one out there today.  Finally feels like Christmas in the Midwest thanks to a lot of white stuff coming down at the moment.  Looks like 2-4 inches when it is all done for the day.  A perfect dusting to add to the holiday atmosphere – not to mention our well could sure use some recharging.  Today’s post is actually inspired by a recent set of pictures my brother Ron posted from his recent Florida trip.  He was able to witness and get in the tin the brutality of the Loggerhead Shrike. You have to feel a little bad for whatever creature crosses its path at feeding time.  I wonder if he would be willing to guest blog on that series of shots – think you would enjoy that in a squeamish sort of way.  .

In light of that, thought I would roll out my example of the circle of life.  Warning though, bunny lovers might want to skip this particular post.

Cooper's Hawk Dining on a Rabbit in Red Rocks Ampitheatre - Colorado May 2014

That there is a Cooper’s Hawk that I encountered while visiting Red Rocks Ampitheatre back in May 2014.  We were out in Colorado for a Teacup Dog Agility Nationals.  Linda knows how to bribe me to go with her.  Simply mention Red Rocks Ampitheatre and my bags will be packed in a jiffy.  I’ve posted a number of shots from my explorations at that place in the past.  A number of those were +1’s on the birding list.  Even got a nice fox while out there (link here).

From the birding list perspective, the Cooper doesn’t represent a +1 having posted most recently from an encounter in Champaign IL (link here).
Cooper's Hawk Dining on a Rabbit in Red Rocks Ampitheatre - Colorado May 2014

Hit the jump to see some more images from the Ampitheatre.

Continue reading Circle of Life Plays Out in a Theatre Far Away

The Illini Hawkeye

It’s a new month which means one thing around here at LifeIntrigued – that’s right, quota reset time.  I hope you enjoyed last month’s dedication to all things non-birding related.  If nothing else, it sure cut down on the hate mail although the pro-birding contention was starting to get a little anxious.  No worries,  I  have plenty of bird related posts in the hopper.  I am currently sitting around wondering what the final toll will be on me due to a life list achievement yesterday – more on that in an upcoming post.  For now, let’s just say – HOLY CRAP I HURT.  My pain is your win since this affords me time to crank out a new post!

Cooper's Hawk from Champaign Illinois

That happens to be a Cooper’s Hawk.  It also happens to be composed in my favorite over the shoulder look making it one of my favorite shots of this cool bird of prey.  This particular Cooper was quite the Zoolander, hamming it up for The Beast.  Oh, and it can go left.

Cooper's Hawk from Champaign Illinois

Most of the time I have to hunt down the bird fodder.  Instead, this specimen found me in Champaign, IL last year.  I was actually there adding the super cool Swallow Tailed Kite to my birding list (link here). I’ll never forget the enjoyment watching that Kite soar overhead.  Eventually it would take a wide circle out of our viewing area giving some down time to mingle with the other birders that had gathered that day.  That is when this Hawk came flying in and perched across the street from us.  Cameras up, shutters clicking.

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the Cooper’s Hawk.

Continue reading The Illini Hawkeye

A Super Cooper

I managed to get distracted tonight and didn’t get a chance to prep the images for the running post I promised last post.  The weather was outstanding tonight actually turning cool enough to put a coat on.  That translates to the perfect  conditions to get half my yard trimming down – by half I mean literally upwards of 2+ hours to get the upper portion of the lot done.  The lower will take an equal amount of time but I’ll let that go a bit more.  Since I am just sitting here watching for ticks to start randomly appearing on my skin, figured it would be a good time to get another post out (helps keep my mind off the fact there is likely a tick crawling somewhere on my body – shudder).  Lucky for me I can always go back to the bird well for content so like last offering, today features another +1 from the Chain O’ Lake State Park birding outing with my brother Ron.

Cooper's Hawk at Chain O' Lakes

This is one of those sets that came out a tad soft, but based on the conditions, a lot better than expected.  Just before we located the Fox Sparrow from last post, we noticed the bird pictured circling above where we were standing.  Unfortunately, it was quite a ways up and at the time we were not really sure what it was.  My first guess was a Northern Harrier based on seeing them there on numerous trips.  I remember telling Ron to try and get the white strip on the top of the tail so we could quickly identify it later.  At the same time something seemed odd about this particular specimen (assuming it was a Harrier).  First off, Harriers tend to hang in the air a bit while hunting prey (that being one of the special abilities of Harrier).  This one just kept circling more characteristic of the Red Tails seen so often around here.  The other thing I couldn’t seem to figure out at the time but later confirmed was the wing shape.  This one was a bit thicker and the head seemed pulled back a bit into the wings.
Cooper's Hawk at Chain O' Lakes

Hit the jump to find out what we decided this bird was

Continue reading A Super Cooper

Tell Tail Hawk

I’m back with another request for bird identification help.  I shot this Hawk while on a shoot along the Mississippi River up in the Quad Cities.
Credit Island Hawk

To be more specific, I took this on Credit Island in Davenport in the December 2012 timeframe.  Yeah, yeah, I’m waaaay behind but the good news is I’ve been able to start processing again (now completed Jan and Feb of 13 in a desperate attempt not to fall more than two years behind).  Enough about my struggles … we have a bird to talk about!!!

Credit Island Hawk

This particular Hawk was a surprise find while out on the island looking for Eagles.  They tend to congregate along the Mississippi providing an excellent opportunity to expend the portfolio.  Having hit our standard shooting spot, we took our normal loop through Credit Island.  The Eagles along that stretch of the island have figured out they can hunt in peace in the large trees across the channel so pickings there are usually thin – from the Eagle opportunities.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunities for other feathered friends and sometimes even those with fur.

Hit the jump to read more about this Hawk.. oh, and my guess to what it is

Continue reading Tell Tail Hawk