I was doing some chores in our driveway when one of the large and very vocal hawks that often zoom through our neighborhood at rooftop level landed in the huge Oak tree towering over our back yard, loudly announcing its presence. It waited until I retrieved my camera from my car and raised the lens to focus, then said "Bye Bye!".
I discovered why the Red-shouldered Hawks are flying around my house so much. The nest in the huge Oak tree I mentioned in post #2,664 is not a squirrel nest as I thought; it belongs to the mating pair of Hawks! I've heard them screeching from that direction, and stupidly wondered why I couldn't see them. I heard one of them calling out shrilly when I was in our yard a bit earlier, and looked up just as it folded its wings and flew low over me and the house at a high rate of speed, only to backwing at the seemingly last second and land gracefully in the nest. Almost as quickly, it left the nest and went back in the direction from which it came, landing high in a tall Poplar tree a few hundred feet away, where it perched with its mate just long enough for me to get a good look. Of course I didn't have a decent camera with me at the time.
Later I heard one calling out from behind the house again, and looked up to see it in a tree near the nest. They come off of a branch in a hurry. I've yet to photograph one just as it lands or launches. But now that I know they are literally in my back yard, I'll be carrying my camera every time I walk out of the house.
Here's the nest, just a couple of trees to the right of those images. For years, I've thought it was a squirrel's nest; pretty sure I saw a squirrel go in it once. Then again, it may have been eaten by the hawks.
I was watching the hawks' nest late this evening, hoping to get a pic of one coming or going, when I heard a bird right above me in one of the branches of our front yard Maple tree. There was a Northern Mockingbird scurrying along one of the branches, chirping softly and slowly getting closer to me. I very carefully raised my X30 and snapped off a series of images as it lightly dropped a bit lower and lower, until it decided I wasn't a threat and landed on the feeder barely more than a meter from me. It was then that I turned back around and looked over my shoulder, just in time to see one of the big hawks raise its head above the side of the nest, and launch into space before I could fully raise the camera. Curses! I stood there for a bit watching, then realized the second hawk was in the branch of an adjacent tree. I was able to slowly sneak around to the back of the house and get somewhat closer. The X30 is certainly no birding camera, but it can still capture interesting images.
My Nikon 1 30-110 was in the mailbox when I returned from this morning's bike ride. I quite literally opened the box in the garage, mounted it on the 1 V2, and captured these images of one of our feathered neighbors while standing on our front sidewalk. Blues seem a bit too intense, but I did forget to change the camera from "Landscape". Still, I'm pleased with the start.
It gets better. I watched the nest for about 45 minutes after lunch, listening to the hawk that was on the nest calling for the mate every few minutes. Then when the mate announced its arrival in a nearby tree (out of my line of sight), the hawk in the nest stood up, and its vocalizations clearly changed. Then it flew out to meet the mate. I wasn't ready when it flew back to the nest after just a couple of minutes, so that image is blurry, but this is one of the coolest things I've ever witnessed.
At various times during the year, it seems like there is a veritable plague of red-breasted Robins coming around. This particular Robin was seriously high up in the branches of a very, very tall tree. Enjoying the privacy of his-or-her avian space, and never realizing that the lens on my RX10iii was long enough to provide the biped voyeur (me) with a good view--
The next-door neighbor recently acquired a small flock (maybe half a dozen) guineafowl, who have taken to flying over the fence and wandering around my garden, while emittng their non-stop honking calls, which have the effect of intimidating most other animals in the vicinity. I happened to have the RX10 with me today when they came by for a visit - which allowed me to 'capture' them---
The zoom lens let me move in closer, all the while keeping a prudent distance---
I mean, take a good look at that face.... no wonder my cat gives them a wide berth.
Going outside to get the mail, I heard the distinctive call of a Jay. I looked up and saw this Scrub Jay perched on the power line across the street, acting like he owned the place. Maybe he did. But I got a quick shot before he departed---