Morning Surprise

Cooper's Hawk

So the plan today was to drive to the upper parking lot at the trailhead and beat the ‘shroomer to the upper meadows to see if I might find the elk herd before they retreat to the coolness of the dense forest. And of course maybe get pictures of the dusky grouse flock before her dog had a chance to scare them into the forest. There were no grouse but as I neared the edge of the forest I heard a strange call that required investigation. I eventually spotted the bird in a tree calling down to me. I had seen these before but always thought they were some kind of meadowlark or something. Not a tiny bird but not a big one either, bigger than a robin though. Anyway, I snapped a few pictures until the bird took off, and I continued on through the forest to look for elk.

Mule Deer Fawn

Alas, there were no elk on the summit but there were a few cute mule deer, including a doe with her curious fawn in tow. They stopped briefly to check me out and kept on walking. With my long lens I was able to photograph from a distance beyond their danger zone.

Upon arriving at my desktop I loaded up the interesting new bird and discovered it to be a Cooper’s Hawk. The All About Birds site provided by Cornell Labs identified the raptor for me including a few interesting facts about their lifestyle. They are a forest dwelling bird that feeds on other birds and migrate in the winter along with osprey to South America. According to ABCBirds.org , “Like so many other species, Cooper’s Hawks are harmed by habitat loss, which may limit suitable breeding habitat. Collisions with glass windows, turbines, and poorly lit communications towers also account for many deaths.” Just one more reason that I’m against the wholesale adoption of all those stupid windmills that don’t supply enough power to justify their damage to the landscape.

That the hawks eat other birds could explain the apparent shortage of song birds on my mountain this season! Well anyway, there is at least one nesting pair living in the dark forest, and maybe more. Now I can’t wait to get back up there for some more captures!

 

 

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Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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Coyote on the Hunt