Behold! the Red-tailed Hawk of Nauset Light

Just as I was turning to leave Nauset Light the other day, I spotted this GORGEOUS Red-tailed Hawk perched high on a phone pole at the very bottom of the hill.

It was obvious, she was looking for some dinner in the small bramble-covered mound between her and the Light.

I have always been intensely drawn to Red-taileds.

I love their eyes, their intense focus…

The way they waggle their head back and forth when they see something of interest nearby.

Their glorious feathers and yes, even those powerful yellow talons so perfectly suited for snatching up small prey.

I have always felt a deep sense of calm whenever I see a Red-tailed perched on a rooftop, swooping up to a tree or soaring over the highway.

Somehow, when I see them I feel as if everything is okay, or will be soon.

And as I stood there, fresh off my visit to the Light…

I couldn’t help but wonder if this might be the Red-tailed Hawk of Nauset Light…

Charged with watching over this great beacon who herself has been the ultimate protector to countless sailors and pilots all these many, many years.

I guess I like to think that somehow the Light and the hawk, and all the hawks of her line…

Are watching over one another.

Alert and steadfast, assured of their noble purpose, their place in this world.

Harrier Hawk Surprise

I love surprises.

Like a few weeks ago when a bird I was photographing from away up on “Osprey Hill” that overlooks Forest beach marsh turned out to be —

A Harrier Hawk, and not the Great Blue Heron I thought it was at first!

I’ve seen Harriers now for years in the marsh, but I’d never seen one down on the ground, out in the middle of the marsh.

Just lookin’ around.  😉

Perhaps he’d just had a good meal?

Perhaps it was a young harrier, just checking things out?

Or maybe…

He was enjoying the after-summer quiet in the marsh…

As much as me.  😉

Red-Tailed Magic from Above

I had the nicest surprise yesterday morning.

And all I needed to do, was look UP!

Driving through Harwich Port, I spotted two Red-Tailed Hawks perched way up high on the church steeple.

I’d seen Red-Tails there at Pilgrim Congregational Church earlier in the summer, so it’s a habit to always check the spot when I drive through Port.

And today was the day I got treated to them once again.

The sun was warm; its early morning rays providing the perfect backlighting for the pair.

I could see their feathers, some individually, blowing gently in the sea breeze; so soft, so elegant.

And as I walked around the church, if I hadn’t known better I’d have thought the two of them were not even aware of my presence.

But I do know better.

Red-Taileds see everything.

While one of them was busy scanning the environment, looking this way…

And then that.

The other was as intensely occupied with some preening.

And I don’t mean just a little preening…

I mean, a whole lot of preening!   😉

But make no mistake about it, even when Red-Taileds are grooming or eating or hunting, they still notice everything.

When I see them gazing around their world, I know they are watchful; waiting for something to move, something that might even be tasty.

My, I sure was glad to see the two of them again, to know that they are both alive and well.

And as I turned to look upward one more time at the pair…

I said a “Thank you!” to them both.

For because of them, my Labor Day celebrations had already begun!!  😉

Red-tailed Hawk with Feather Fan

I’m not sure if as a couture milliner it’s my love of detail…

Or perhaps simply my fascination with the way light and shadow can bring magic to a subject at any given moment in our natural world.

But last evening while I was out for a walk, something in the distance caught my eye.

Just to my left, backlit by the setting sun, a stunning Red-tailed Hawk perched high atop a deserted telephone pole.

A beautiful sight to see, anytime.

But there was something very different about one of the hawk’s feathers, and the way the light was catching it, that made me want to look closer.

A single feather on the hawk’s folded wing appeared to be askew, twisted in a direction that didn’t fit with all the others.

Just then the hawk turned, as hawks often do, to check out something behind it that had caught its attention.

And that’s when this image happened.

The hawk’s feather, the angle of his head and the way the light was catching it made it look almost like the hawk had drawn a feather fan across its face!

Smiling at the moment, I walked past the hawk and spotted another hawk feather, this one lying on a lawn nearby.

Had there been a skirmish between the hawk and a crow, that maybe loosened a feather or two?

Or was this simply a feather the hawk had preened, that was ready to fall?

I’ll never know.

What I do know is, this was a special moment.

One that I am so glad, for whatever the reason, had caught my eye.  ❤

Cooper’s Hawk, To Go

The weather had been wild and woolly all morning, and I had resigned myself to the fact that there would be no bird sightings today.

I happened to be looking out the front door to check on the storm, when all of a sudden I spotted a gorgeous Cooper’s hawk diving down from one of the tallest silver leafs along the driveway!

By the time I got to the studio window at the other end of the apartment, he had landed in one of the silver leafs on the far side.

An amazing immature specimen, and I could see several crows already screaming at him from a nearby tree.

Yet he seemed in no hurry; slowly peering about, like he owned the place.

Even through the rain, the dim light and the filmy porthole window here in the studio, he couldn’t have looked any more magnificent to me.

Such an amazing gift arriving right to my doorstep, and for sure when I least expected it.

As the wind started to pick up again, I could tell he was getting more agitated.

Like it was time to go.

And sure enough, with eyes bright and every muscle tensing for quick action, off he flew with great purpose.

Who needs a pizza delivery on a chilly, rainy Sunday, when it appears that you can just get a Cooper’s hawk to go?

And note to self: Clean said porthole window, for the next unexpected visitor.   😉