Since I began helping out with the eagle program at Teatown, I have been seeing raptors everywhere I go. Frankly, going out to the Hudson River, where a pair of bald eagles is nesting, seems to be a less reliable way to see these creatures than just going about my day. Sometimes we got lucky and both would be there, working on the nest, but other times we would only get a brief glimpse from a distance.
On my way home a couple of weeks ago, I came across this Cooper’s Hawk, about a block from my house.
I keep seeing a red-shouldered hawk at the school bus stop. In 15 minutes driving on route 684 this week, I saw four different hawks perched in trees along the highway. And yesterday a bald eagle soared right by us as we were playing paddle tennis in the snow. I’m still working through the raptor identification course I’m taking online through Cornell Ornithology Lab, but my skills are improving dramatically. The winter is the perfect time to start raptor-spotting, since the trees are bare, and bald eagles are nesting on the river.
I see many of these birds while I happen to be driving, which makes it hard to get photos (and occasionally leads to distracted driving). The one above was taken through my car window with an iPhone. I’ve been inspired to break out the DSLR that’s been gathering dust for the last couple of years and see what I can do. New battery arrives today, so hopefully I can put it to work very soon! I’ve heard there are some special spots where you can see owls hunting at dusk and that kind of thing, but for now I think I’d do alright just wandering around Katonah. Maybe in the car. Since it’s polar vortex time again. Next week I’m headed out for eagle monitoring with Bedford Audubon, so hopefully I’ll get some decent shots. I’m going to have to invest in a good telephoto lens at some point, but it’ll be a definite step up from the phone.