21 January, 2018 “I can’t complain but sometimes I still do”
That line is from Joe Walsh’s 1978 song Life’s Been Good from the album But Seriously, Folks. An accipiter – either a Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) or a Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) landed above us on a branch at the river this morning. This is the image I got:
I was “complaining” (the voice inside my head was complaining) that I cut off the tail in that picture. Instead of being grateful I got it at all, which I’m thrilled – that is always a difficult bird for me – I was complaining (in my head again). The line (in the song) that follows the line I used for the title of this post is “Life’s been good to me so far.” Speaking of life being good to me (and to many others), this was the river this morning, half an hour before I photographed that accipiter:
I have a vague goal – I’ve possibly mentioned – of photographing a minimum of one raptor per week in 2018. Just to see if I can do it. All in the City of Richmond/Henrico County area. Today (Sunday, 21 January, 2018) wraps up the third week and I’m three for three. On Monday (1/15) I photographed two Red-shouldered Hawks plus a Red-tailed hawk, plus I passed up two other nice Red-shoulders – they were everywhere Monday. It’ll be interesting to see if I can get a raptor each week for fifty-two consecutive weeks.
This is where that bird was perched:
You have to look closely at this picture – it’s tiny – but you can see where that hawk is sitting. It’s only about the size of the “8” next to the word “Riverside” on the green sign. It’s on a branch precisely in the center of the picture, just below the top. Imagine if a football was in the top of one of those trees. That’s what you’re looking for. But don’t drive yourself crazy – if I didn’t know it was there, I might not be able to find it.
I’ve been trying to get a good Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis ) picture for Evelyn and I’ve been mostly unsuccessful (but I can’t complain). I went back through my pictures this week and found this one from Thursday – I can’t believe this was only three days ago – in our front yard. Today Evelyn and my niece Cappy and our friend Ariel and I had lunch outside. Pardon this digression but a week ago I posted a picture of Mackey and Turner and me standing on the frozen James River. Remarkable. Anyway, I wish the bird’s face had been in sun rather than shadow but so it goes. Sorry you can’t see the dark eyes that give its name. This one has a seed in its mouth:
I stumbled into an indistinct (moderately) image of two Great black-backed Gulls (Larus marinus), described by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as “The king of the Atlantic waterfront.” I’m not in love with this image, but it has interesting features. First, you can see the size of “The king of the Atlantic waterfront” relative to the average sized Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis ) – it’s enormous. Another interesting feature is the opportunity to compare the two Great black-backed Gulls – there’s an adult (left) and an immature (right). I’m not certain how to age the immatures; that picture quality is too poor to determine. But they have a distinct “juvenile” color pattern and an equally distinct “first winter” color pattern. I’m not sure which this is. Have a look:
I’m going to put this blog post to be then put my self to bed at a reasonable hour. Have an excellent week!
PS If anyone cares to enlighten me about that accipiter, I’d love to know more. A, is it a Cooper’s Hawk or a Sharp-shinned Hawk and why. B, is it a male or a female and why. I’ve photographed female Cooper’s Hawks; they’re too huge to be anything else. I’ve photographed male Sharp-shinned Hawks; they’re too petite to be anything else. But there’s a size overlap between male Cooper’s Hawks (medium-sized) and female Sharp-shinned Hawks (medium-sized) and I can’t distinguish breed by size. This bird was approximately the size of a crow – in between. Please enlighten me if you know more. And have a great week!