Drive-by Shooting

Driving home after work one day last week, a small hawk came gliding low across the road in front of me. I was heading into the sun, so I couldn’t tell much about the bird other than he was too small to be a Red-tail. Watching him as he crossed the road, he looked as if he were making an approach to land in a tree a short distance from the right of way. I mentally marked the tree, drove the few hundred yards to the next cross-over between lanes and turned back to have a look.

I pulled off on the shoulder and started scanning the tree where I thought he’d landed, but didn’t see anything. I started to pull back into traffic but decided to take one more look. This time I spotted him, higher in the tree than I’d expected and partially obscured by foliage. But through the binoculars, it was clear that he was a Broad-winged Hawk.

Had he been a Red-tail, he would have been long gone. But Broad-wings aren’t generally that spooky and he was still sitting there ignoring me. With the passenger side window down and the motor turned off, I shot a few photos from within the truck. Now that I had a few photos, I got out and went around the truck and started shooting again. I was able to work my way to the left and get his head clear of the obstructing limbs.


He was still not moving, so I started walking through the Sericea lespedeza in his direction. Unfortunately, the bank dropped steeply away after a short distance and I could go no further. I was closer to the hawk, but the light wasn’t as nice as before and I prefer the images shot back near the truck. The background is more attractive.

I ended up with around 80 frames but since the hawk wasn’t moving more than turning his head, they’re all very similar. Still, it was well worth the trouble of turning back and taking the time to shoot.

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