Rough-legged Hawk At Skinner Lane

I made a quick stop by Skinner Lane today and got lucky with this beautiful Rough-legged Hawk.

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What a surprise to find this beautiful very dark Rough-legged Hawk today at Skinner Lane.
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Here’s a good look at the under wing pattern. RLHA at Skinner Lane 2-3-13.

 

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From my car I watched this bird hunt over a small field for nearly 45 minutes and it did not seem bothered by my presence, but as you can see from this photo, the hawk definitely knew I was there. When I left the bird was in the same tree looking away from me and scanning the field below.

Here’s a couple more:

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RLHA at Skinner Lane 2-3-13
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RLHA at Skinner Lane 2-3-13.

 

 

 

 

Shawangunk Grasslands NWR

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I made it out to the grasslands yesterday afternoon into the evening and spent some time in one of the blinds. I am finding it hard to resist going there when the light is good because you all but guaranteed to get some birds up close and plenty of good photo opportunities. I knew the day had some possibilities when I got this Merlin from the parking area.

This Merlin was preening in one of the trees closest to the parking area.
This Merlin was preening in one of the trees closest to the parking area.

And this Northern Harrier flew right over head as I made my way to the blind.

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I wasn’t in the blind for more than ten minutes when the Gray Ghost came pretty close ┬áby. As both of these photos are a little soft, I feel like I still haven’t gotten a good photo of a male Northern Harrier.

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The Northern Harriers were really flying, at one point I counted eight that I could see in one sweep. Some where flying VERY close to the blind.

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Here’s a sequence of a NOHA chasing a Red-tailed Hawk that dared to perch in one of the trees near the blind.

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_MG_9699_MG_9700_MG_9701_MG_9702_MG_9703I was hoping the Short-eared Owls would come out early, but they did not. I spoke to Ralph, who opens and closes the gate there every day (among many other responsibilities), and he said they haven’t come up early in a couple of weeks. I’ve noticed the same thing with the SEOWs in Orange County as well. I’m not sure why this would be.