As the sun sent light skipping across the tops of ridges and trees this morning leaving splashes of color behind, some areas were left untouched–monochrome amid the gold. A darker lump clamped to the top of a tall fir on the dark side of Druid’s Knoll puzzled me. Climbing up the steep hillside while trying to turn shape into sense, the sound of birds chittering companionably competed with me gasping for air. To my surprise, the lump resolved into a hawk. Creeping closer, attempting to remain unnoticed while my border collie, Touch, leapt and barked at everything and nothing, I tried to photograph the raptor.
With a cry of irratation, it flew off but so slow and low that I knew he (? This one was an adult–the irises of its eyes were no longer yellow–and not large so probably male as the females are up to a third bigger) would settle again.
Finally, I found the hawk basking in the morning light on top of an oak. All around a score of songbirds, some ruby throated woodpeckers and a couple of jays called and swirled in a complicated dance. In fact, one cocky Stellar preened and arched it’s blue neck just a scant dozen feet from the hawk. I thought the presence of a predator might terrify the smaller birds but either they knew the raptor was slow from the frosty night or else they knew they weren’t its preferred food.
Someday, I hope to find the nest. Last summer (see links below) I saw not only the mated pair that we usually have but several young.