to post on the third week of the month because I have a newsletter due. This month I had two. That meant a longer time without posts. Meanwhile, I’ve been gathering photos and interesting tidbits. I hope you enjoy what I’ve been capturing with the lens and with the needles.
Today, the Swainson’s hawks. We see these gorgeous birds often at our old/new house. Shortly after we moved back in, an hour or so before dusk, we would see three or four playing in the wind and landing in the large cottonwood growing next to the shed the cat lives in at night. But two weeks ago, the RNK called me outside because he saw six hawks. And then seven. And, maybe, were there 10?
They were so close, we could hear their wings. They had some sort of tag game going, gliding into the wind, then a sharp veer one way or the other. Perhaps the game involved a challenge to the hawk who scored the prize location in the tallest bare branch in the tree. Hawk chicken? I don’t know. It was amazing to watch and I stood outside in the cold wind for a long time witnessing these birds frolicking in the wind.
Unbeknown to us, until I looked it up the next day, Swainson’s gather in huge congregations to migrate more than 10,000 km to wintering grounds in South America (from All About Birds). The map on that site shows central Argentina as their primary winter habitat. In the U.S., the San Luis Valley provides summer habitat to these and many other species of hawks. Oddly enough, the Valley also serves as winter habitat to several raptor species. Golden eagles and bald eagles are commonly sighted in winter months in our area.
I ran inside to get the camera, knowing that the light really wasn’t good enough for good photos and also knowing that I really need some better lenses or a new camera — but that’s another story for another time. While I was fumbling with the camera, I kept counting. I was sure that at one point there were at least 17 distinct birds in the air. Magnificent.
Later, when I went out to put the cat in the shed, I scared them and realized that the tree was entirely filled with hawks. There were well over 25 of them. Unfortunately, they took off. There was still a bit of light so I am hopeful they were able to quickly find another roost spot close by. I am still upset that I scared them off.
Check back again later this week. I’ve got some knitting photos and more interesting bird photos. Meanwhile, here are a couple of shots of my favorite canines.
She even sleeps with her tennis ball. What a little goof.