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Birds of a Feather
updated: Feb 12, 2013, 10:17 AM

By Steve McGovern

My five-year old grandson and I spent the morning at Lake Los Carneros. While he explains EVERYTHING to me, I take pictures of him and the environment. So, while he told me purple colored pencils have "crayons inside", a black mushroom was black because it was "really old", and where baby birds come from ("trees"), I shot birds. There appeared to be some kind of raptor convention going on. When we first arrived, I spotted 5 (probably) red tailed hawks circling the fields north of the lake. A few minutes later, I saw two hawks perched in a tree, talking it out. Later, I saw another, this time a smaller one, sitting in a tree looking at me. I no longer try to identify hawks publicly, because I'm always wrong. I'll leave that to others.

I saw another hawk, of a different species, I think, roosting in a tree just above the trail, and got some good closeups. Finally, a white tailed kite flew into a tree a ways away. I took pictures, but was shooting into the sun, so I won't bother posting that. I'm also throwing in a photo of a flight of Canada geese, just because they were picturesque.

To keep things honest, because I know honest, representational, photographs are important to the discerning Edhat viewers, I make the following disclosures: I used a polarizing filter, which will affect the sky, depending on which direction I'm shooting. Some editing has taken place. I've cropped the photos, for one thing, cutting out unneeded sky and directing one's attention to the subject at hand, and I have adjusted the lighting by removing some shadows in some of the pictures. Overall, as we used to say in the law biz, "these photos accurately represent that which they are purported to depict."

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 373684 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:03 AM

Awsome way to spend the morning. I'm guessing Coopers on second and redtail on third one.


 BECKY agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:09 AM

Glorious hawks! The one from underneath, backlit by the sky is particularly beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


 COMMENT 373691P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:11 AM

2,3,5 - RTH
Not sure about 4


 COMMENT 373696 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:22 AM

Red-shouldered?? That's the only one I know that has wide bands on the tail - unless it's the rare gray hawk come up from Carp.


 SMAC6590 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:53 AM

The small hawk in the 4th picture took off shortly after I shot this. He had short, broad wings, and a relatively long banded tail. What I think is called the "terminal band" on the tail is narrow and white. It can be clearly seen which is a characteristic of a Cooper's hawk, but I've read that a Coopers hawk's terminal band is broader. A Sharp Shinned hawk fits the bill, but the terminal band of a Sharp Shinned is not supposed to be so white. No description I can find deals with the big white patch just below the belly. I would think that would be conclusive...


 COMMENT 373713P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 12:03 PM

Google Harrier Hawk images.


 BULLSEYEB agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 01:26 PM

Very nice, thank you for sharing!


 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 05:30 PM

Thanks! Love the tale about your grandson too.


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 06:57 PM

Picture #3 is gorgeous! And I love your description of the trip (and your knowledgeable grandson).


 COMMENT 373893 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 10:22 PM

Great captures Steve...keep on shooting!


 COMMENT 373899 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 10:55 PM

Fantastic shots! Love LLC!


 COMMENT 373941 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-13 08:26 AM

Very nice images and I find your disclaimer amusing. I do hope that your grandson's wise observation about mushrooms does not apply to--ahem--us older folks.


 COMMENT 373952 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-13 08:45 AM

Grandpa and Grandson sharing the morning taking pictures of what they see! You are teaching more than the environment to your grandson, good for you!


 COMMENT 373959 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-13 09:13 AM

In order, these photos show:
Canada Geese
pair of Red-tailed Hawks
immature Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
immature Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawks show a dark brown-light brown banded tail until 15 or more months of age, then they molt to the red tail.

As we are now in bird breeding season, remember to avoid tree trimming or cutting until August. If work must be done, get someone qualified to inspect for nesting activity. Trimming the lower branches of trees can disrupt breeding just as easily as more severe trimming because it removes the visual 'protection' nesting birds need to feel secure and unobserved by human activities below.


 SBROCKS agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-13 09:19 AM

This is what photography is about. Getting out and enjoying taking the pictures. I'm sure you got some wonderful memories of your Grandson too. Thanks for sharing your morning.


 COMMENT 373967 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-13 09:39 AM

Great shots Steve! I really like the educational disclaimer. It's nice to hear what went into your editing and why you did what you did.


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