February 7th, 2011
I have watched Red-Tailed Hawks in my neighborhood for decades. I would like to say they are fairly common but that could just my memory falsely adding up sightings. Yesterday was the first time I decided to photograph them. The weather was nice and in my head it seemed an easy enough challenge. I usually see them in the early morning or at dusk so I left late and roamed some known spots in Inwood Hill Park.
Two hours later with only a mile-high goose sighting I grew a little angry. There weren’t any birds out…period. I wanted to disprove the ‘you will only see them when you aren’t looking for them’ theory but I ended up abandoning this hunt. It wasn’t until I was well out of the park that I just happened to glance up and notice a hawk chomping on a pigeon. They eat a lot more pigeons than anything around here. It was difficult to get a good angle as the hawk was extremely far away and high up but I snapped a few. I wanted an in-flight shot and this hawk gave me an amazing 5 opportunities over the course of 30 minutes. I managed to capture about 10 in-flight shots with each of them having a major focus or exposure problem. I don’t know why I thought F6.3 would be a good enough aperture. My next task will be to photograph the bald eagles. I haven’t seen one since last year so I may have to hunt a little closer to the Hudson.