It’s that time of year when all of the breeding songbirds have moved south and the winter birds haven’t made it this far south yet. We are in between seasons and now we wait until things pick back up. As I am still learning my way around this region, I’m trying to spend this slow time finding new places to photograph and explore new areas. It’s a lot of fun and important to do, but it doesn’t produce instant results.
Don’t get my wrong, there are lots of birds around, especially geese, ducks, and gulls, but unfortunately, I haven’t found a good way to photograph the geese and ducks. Most of the ducks and geese hang out on Cayuga Lake and are just far enough out that I can’t get close enough to get the images I want. I don’t have a way to get on the water but I will hopefully be bringing my canoe up from my parents’ house in Orlando early next year. I hope that this can facilitate access to some of these birds, especially as things start to warm up a bit in early spring.
In the meantime, I have been trying to photograph one of the early winter arrivals for about a week now with zero success. A Rough-legged Hawk has taken up residence about 10 minutes from my apartment and I have now spent a number of mornings trying to get close. The bird is extremely skittish and I keep failing.
Every morning that I have visited this site around sunrise, I’ve found the hawk sitting on a power line in gorgeous light across a field from the road. Every time I park and make my way towards the bird, it flies when I am still about 150-200 yards away. One time I hadn’t even gotten out of the car when it flew.
So, today I decided to try a different approach. I headed out very early this morning, hiked across the field in the predawn darkness and waited for sunrise. As the sun came up, the bird wasn’t there. Eventually, it flew in and took up its perch for about 2 minutes before flying off again. This time I was still about 100 yards away and hadn’t moved at all. After it flew this morning, it went in the opposite direction it normally does and disappeared. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying or wait for a less skittish bird to show up later this winter.