I’m Lookin’ at YOU, Flightless Biped!

comments 37
California / Photo Log / Photography / Point Reyes / Wildlife


January 20, 2021 — Point Reyes National Seashore, California

It’s been a minute — maybe several — since I’ve posted wildlife. I’ve been concentrating on abstract and impressionistic seascapes. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love to shoot wildlife — photographically.

A couple weeks ago, The Muse and I went out to the Tomales Point trail for a long hike in celebration of significant click on my personal chronometer. It was a sunny day. Mild breeze. We brought cameras — we always bring cameras — but we expected the outing to be mostly exercise.

Then came the birds. (Not those birds. Those birds were a few miles north in Bodega Bay and more than a few years ago.) No, these birds were raptors. Up to ten at a time. Red-tailed hawks, kites, and falcons. Among them was this grand red-tailed hunter. We stopped and photographed them for more than two hours, only a mile or so from the trailhead. That’s as far as we got.

This one patrolled south to north along the ridge, went as far north as the Windy Gap and circled around to the south to repeat the pattern. One pattern every 20 minutes. On the fourth pass he kited directly over us for several minutes. We wondered if we were being considered for the lunch menu, but we were only one thing he looked at as he scrutinized the ground below. At one point we locked eyes.

And for that minute it was like High Noon. But I was beneath him. He was clearly superior.


(Nikon D500, Tamron 100–400mm f/4.5–6.3 Di VC USD. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes — near and distant — and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at www.amagaphoto.com All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.


  1. Carolyn says

    Out of this world!!!
    And your flair with words in your verbal account of the experience, is the icing on the cake,.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aryana says

    Love this! Such a beautiful creature!
    I have to say I always enjoy your pictures.
    I hope you and your muse are doing well

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Making full eye contact with a bird — or any creature — is a wonderful experience, and an opportunity worth waiting for. Beyond that, the intricacy of the underwing feather patterns is wonderful , and you captured it well.

    Liked by 1 person

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