Chasing a Northern Harrier.

Today is a bright clear windy Sunday, nice temperature for being on the deck with coffee early in the morning. Of course being behind the wind break works out real well also. I don’t really want to take the time for the next 3 weeks to edit thousands of photos; it’s ok the traffic on the slough is minimal. If I can get enough each day for my blogs that would be ideal. I bought Photoshop, yeh, it’s a program packed with a wallop containing what seems to be endless editing tools. I have spent the majority of the past 3 days reading tutorials but mainly watching YouTube videos for beginners; I want to understand it before I use it.

I am not good with identifying Hawks, at first I thought the image above was a Falcon or a Kite. It takes me a long time to go through my bird books searching for them, then when I think I found the I.D. I look it up in one other book and search the internet to be certain. I suspect (I’m 80% sure) this is a Northern Harrier.

Most of the photos I took of him, yes it’s a male, have small birds in chase. Each time I see him or any large bird for that matter, they are being harassed by the Starlings, Red Wing Blackbirds and Swallows. When one goes streaking past the long line of pursuers may number 10 or more. The picture above and below were taken 24 hours apart from each other. The above image taken Saturday and that below this morning; sometimes pictures are so close to being the same it’s surprising.

He has an interesting habit however.

He is an early performer out above the pasture at dawn he relentlessly searches the area. At between 7 am and 8 am he flies within range of my camera following the top of the far Levee. That’s what he is doing in these pictures, he flies as close as one foot to the rocks. He is fast, agile and seems to be a successful hunter, but there is no escaping his tormentors. He flies down that Levee every day at the same time.

He may be less than 1 foot above the rocks, I have watched him for the past two years or so. He will at times catch the wind to his back then go as fast as possible with it. They are capable of flying at 60mph, I would bet he hits 90 with a 25mph wind behind him. He also will hover while searching the pasture it gives him the means to stay in one spot above the ground, and it gives me an opportunity to take pictures.

Here he is back during the Golden Hour Saturday morning, it was a strong gold glow that morning I kept editing it lighter because I didn’t think it looked natural. But here it is in all of its glory as the others from Saturday are. A few seconds later he caught what appeared to be a small furry animal and flew into the horizon with it and his pursuers.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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