04.28.19: Hawk up close

A Red-shouldered Hawk perches on a cypress knee 
in Six Mile Cypress Slough, Fort Myers, Fla.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK ARCHIVES

Technical information

Date/time:
Jan. 9, 2018,
10:17 a.m.

Location
26°34'31.704" N 81°49'21.233" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Camera: 
Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Lens: 
Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 

Aperture: 
f/5.6

Shutter: 
1/1250th second

ISO: 
4000

I have a number of photos of Red-shouldered Hawks from our trips to southwest Florida.

But much of the credit for this one, my favorite, goes to my wife.

We were walking through Six Mile Cypress Slough, a park in Fort Myers, one morning when I saw a Little Blue Heron hunting in the wetlands. It was behind some plants so I kept my attention on that area waiting for it the move to a clear area so I could get a photo.

I heard my wife quietly call my name so I held up my hand to indicate “just a second,” and continued watching for the heron.

She said my name again and again I held up my hand.

Then she tapped me on the shoulder.

When I turned she pointed to a Red-shouldered Hawk that had landed on a cypress knee above the water, probably about 15 feet from where we were standing. The hawk ignored our presence while it looked for a potential meal.

The bird was so close that I had to back up a few steps, leaning against the rail on the opposite side of the boardwalk above the swamp, to be able to get a photo. I actually shot a series of photos at this location, then a few more when the hawk hopped to another cypress knee a few feet away.

I like how the hawk is so close that feather detail and features are clear. 

And I would have missed it had my wife not been with me that morning.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.