Different state, same bird

Okay, not actually the *same* bird, but the same species. Northern harrier have been some of my favorite birds to photograph over my artist career, really highlighting my NJ wildlife photography: five years in review post. These birds are widespread, but generally challenging to approach and photograph in my experience. Having recently moved to Wyoming, I was somewhat lamenting the loss of my usual harrier location and all the site-specific knowledge I had gained there.         

So, a few days ago, I was happy to catch a glimpse of a few Northern harriers out at a distance flying low over a field. Way too far for a pic, it was still nice seeing a familiar "friend". 

That changed this morning however, when I got a very unexpected pass from a molting juvenile female harrier, shown below.

And not just a close pass, but a pass that I'm really happy with! I got a pretty much perfect light angle, with the catchlight pretty much dead center, a nice green background -- a departure from the winter backgrounds I've gotten in NJ, nice light, and to top it all off -- a calling pose! I've never captured a harrier calling before, despite hearing them frequently so I was thrilled to see this on the back of the camera. Click the image to see it larger.

About an hour after this image when the sun was just starting to get high, I imaged this Swainson's hawk -- a new species for me.

A lot of changes with the recent move, but it was awesome to catch up with a familiar bird, and nice to start photographing some new ones too. Or as we all remember from kids, make new friends, but keep the old :).

  • No Comments