Hawk opportunity brewing?

Apr 7, 2006
Five years ago, hawk watchers and photographers were stunned by masses of hawks on the annual migration south that paused to indulge themselves in a month long feeding frenzy along the San Mateo county coast, with remarkable photo opportunities at places like "the Bluff" in Half Moon Bay. Hawks, harriers, owls, kites all tolerated each other because an explosion in the vole population just made it too easy for them.... and for us!

Since then, we've had sparse pickings during hawk season but I am happy to report that although the migration has yet to really begin, we are seeing major numbers of raptors on the bluff! All indications are that we may once again get a perfect storm of voles and hawks, so if you are in or near the Bay Area plan on a visit to Half Moon Bay and be ready to get up close with raptors. I will report as events warrant, if you are planning a trip out I will be happy to give you as much detail as you want.

How good does it get? This is a re-post of a shot taken 5 years ago with a D100 and 18-70, the bird was just too stuffed to fly and tolerated my close approach for a good 15 minutes. Needless to say, a good lens, good technique and a little luck are necessary, but as they say luck rewards the prepared photographer - or something like that!

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May 18, 2005
Western Slope of Colorado
I'm pretty sure that I remember drooling over your opportunity, preparedness, execution, and maybe :)biggrin:) your bit of luck with this terrific shot.

The closest that I've come to getting a decent close-up hawk photo was seeing a pair perched in a mostly leafless sycamore tree maybe 20 ft. up as I was driving out to a reservoir's inlet on a two-lane road. Too bad that there was no shoulder whatsoever! :eek: Once I was able to get off the roadway and grab my gear, one was facing away from me, and both were ready to take off. I managed a few shots in focus, but none of those qualified as "good".
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