I went to Hawk Ridge today, and I found out that I’m much better at taking pictures of birds when someone is holding them.
Here’s my collection:
“A bird in the hand,” as the Hawk Ridge folks like to say. The bird in this hand is a young female sharp-shinned hawk, not that I would have known that all by myself.
Same bird, a bit closer. This one wasn’t real happy with the situation, but it would be on its way again soon.
There’s a broad-winged hawk in the midst of that crowd, getting rock-star treatment from the paparazzi.
There it is!
And there! Hawk Ridge is very kid-friendly, by the way.
The broad wing of a broad-winged hawk.
This bird, too, was about to be released. But when it came to taking pictures of the moment of release, the broad-winged hawk was way too fast for me …
Ditto later on, with a sharp-shinned hawk:
Hawk Ridge is a wonderful place for a Wannabe Birder to go at this time of the year, not only because there are so many raptors to see, but because the staff and volunteers of Hawk Ridge are there to tell me what I’m seeing. So I’m happy to say that, in addition to the caught-and-released birds, I saw several bald eagles, several sharp-shinned hawks, several broad-winged hawks, my first two American kestrels ever and my first kettle ever — a kettle being a mob of raptors riding the thermal updrafts as they migrate south. I was told there were at least 40 of them, and that most if not all of them were broad-winged hawks.
It happened to be a pretty good day for raptor movement over Hawk Ridge. I haven’t looked at the Website to see the final count, but it was more than 1,000 raptors by the time I left around 4 p.m.
Hawk Weekend starts Friday; you should go. But if you happen to have some free time between now and then, you might consider heading up there this week. Erik Bruhnke of the Hawk Ridge staff said it’s likely the biggest numbers of the season will be seen sometime this week.
Your pictures and bird stories joyously received at: firstname.lastname@example.org.