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.)