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Christmas With A Falcon

Discussion in 'Birds' started by jfenton, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    A recap from my Christmas Morning on Plum Island with black / green 5W, The Manchester NH fledged peregrine falcon......12/25/05:

    It was warm for a December morning on the island this Christmas day and a low layer of fog hung suspended twenty or so feet above the marsh.

    As I approached the area where the falcon often sits, I noticed the mass of starlings, which had gathered on the wires, and I noted that 5W must not be in his typical location as they would never sit there in his presence. They are after all, becoming his preferred prey at this time of year.

    I looked out over the marsh at the adult red tail hawk which sat atop the nearby pole, where he sits each morning of late; staring towards the coast and waiting for the sun to come up over the dunes, knowing that with it comes welcome warmth in these cold winter months. I was drawn to the group of crows squawking loudly and it was then that I realized that the tan colored mass on top of the old swallow's nest was actually him.

    As crows are meant to do, they flew around and made a noisy ruckus and on many days he would have moved to another spot to get away from their loud harassment. This morning however, he was hungry and watching the starlings on the bridge.

    The crows grew tired of achieving no response from the young falcon and they moved onto the red tail hawk, knowing that it would play their game and give pursuit. The rest of the world was unaware that the falcon was present; hidden beneath the thin layer of fog. The crows drew the attention of all the creatures in the area as they drove the red tailed hawk from his perch.

    It was at this moment that 5W launched himself and flew low to the north under the fog. As he passed over the causeway he climbed almost straight up until he was a mere speck in the blue sky above.. I realized that his form had stopped moving further away and that it was now approaching rapidly. Wings folded, he dropped silently towards the starlings from behind and above. The flock rose up in an organized brown mass except for a slower bird that got a late start. The falcon's talons plunged forward and in an instant, his target surrendered his life amidst an almost invisible puff of feathers into the morning fog below.

    The falcon flew by closely and with his head turned towards me as if he were a cat who had brought home the mouse it had capture in order to show it's owner what a great hunter it was. The falcon landed on his preferred perch; spent a few moments arranging his prey and then went about the business of feeding his hunger.

    I watched for almost an hour, realizing that this was just another day in his life, yet was a gift to me; being allowed to watch this, his first Christmas breakfast.

    NIKON D2X    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/750s    ISO 400

    NIKON D2X    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/800s    ISO 400

    NIKON D2X    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/500s    ISO 400

    NIKON D2X    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/640s    ISO 500

    NIKON D2X    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/1000s    ISO 500

    NIKON D2X    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/320s    ISO 500
  2. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Awesome series Jim. Was this with the 500 + 1.4?
  3. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Hi Frank

    All at 700 MM with the 500 and 1.4...some shot in HSC.
  4. PixelPete

    PixelPete Guest

    Hi Jim,great story telling and excellent photos once again.Is that the eye of a fish hook I see in its mouth that second shot or do I need a trip to the eye doctor?
  5. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Hi Pete....

    Simply a feather that looks like the eye of a fish hook and therefore I wouldn't bother going to the eye doctor :) 
  6. dbirdsong

    dbirdsong Guest

    Great work as usual Jim.. Thanks for sharing
  7. Wow, shooting at 700mm must be an experience. Nice images and quite a story they tell.
  8. Awesome shots and a great story, Jim!!!
  9. bfjr

    bfjr Guest

    Most excellent Christmas shots indeed !!
  10. SSchex


    May 18, 2005
    Louisiana, USA
    Excellent shots. Thanks for sharing.
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