Grasslands Raptors, 1/25/15

~This dark morph Rough-legged Hawk took this low line across the grasslands several times. It was nice to get a RLHA flight shot with a decent background. Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge, 1/25/15.~
~This dark morph Rough-legged Hawk took this low line across the grasslands several times. It was nice to get a RLHA flight shot with a decent background. Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge, 1/25/15.~

While the Eastern Meadowlarks were the highlight for me this past Sunday morning, I also did relatively well with raptors. Especially since I was out for only two and a half hours. One interesting observation I made was that since it was a windy morning with the wind coming from the west, most of my shots ended up being at least partially backlit. It seems to me that, at least when it comes to Northern Harriers, these birds tend to hunt while flying into the wind. With a west wind, that means most of the time when I had a bird flying towards the blind it had the sun at its back.

Here is a list of raptors that I had for the morning, and I should mention that when I got back to my car, Ralph let me know that about a dozen Short-eared Owls got up for about twenty minutes – not too far from the parking area. I never saw them since I have my back to the parking area when I’m in the north blind.

Black Vulture 7
Northern Harrier 5
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Rough-legged Hawk 4
American Kestrel 1

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~This Northern Harrier must have heard the camera and shot a look back as it passed the blind. Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 1/25/15.~
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~NOHA at the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 1/15/15.~
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~This bird flew straight at the blind and got quite close. Northern Harrier at the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 1/25/15.~
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~This Rough-legged Hawk with a damaged primary feather was near my blind for most of the time I was there. I took this shot from directly below the bird as I walked back to the car. Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge, 1/25/15.~

6 thoughts on “Grasslands Raptors, 1/25/15”

  1. The Harrier, my favorite bird. Great shots, I need to get out there a few times yet this winter, preferably in the morning, specifically for the Harriers.

    1. Jeff,

      I hope you can get out, you know how much fun it is to shoot harriers. And the mornings are so much more peaceful. Matt

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