Autumn Buteo

October 26, 2015

Continuing my theme from last week, “Beautiful Birds Surrounded by Fall Colors,” this red-shouldered hawk landed with its stern toward my lens, its rusty highlights the perfect complement to the autumn landscape. Lucky for me, it turned its head and caught a glint of sunlight in its eye for a brief moment. The resulting “catchlight” was just what I desired.

I encountered this red-shoulder a few days ago at the end of a long hike at Shaw Nature Reserve. Actually, the hike was only three miles, but it was long for me as I was carrying my 18-pound camera/lens/tripod combo on my shoulder, which I’m sure was becoming as red as that of the hawk’s. I hadn’t fired a shot for the entire hike and my vehicle was close in sight when this beautiful buteo saved the day! It flew across the trail about 25 yards in front of me and landed near a squirrel nest.

I approached as causally as possible, putting on an air of indifference to the hawk’s presence, a technique that works with critters, at least some of the time. As I looked through my 500 mm lens I almost said “Wow” out loud when I saw the hawk’s beautiful colors and racy tail stripes. Unfortunately, my subject was genuinely indifferent to my presence so it took a couple of clucks and squeaks to induce a head turn from the reluctant raptor.

As I packed my gear, I thought about how lucky I was to run across such a nice photo opportunity so close to the end of my autumn hike. I can’t say I’ve had 100% success when photographing wildlife at Shaw Nature Reserve, but I’ve learned not to give up until my camera goes back in the 4Runner. This trip was a nice reminder to stay hopeful all the way to the end of the trail because you never know when a Missouri critter might make your day.

Thanks for looking,


Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery and Print Information:  Danny’s Website

6 comments on “Autumn Buteo”

  1. Beautiful image. I also imagined the Red-shouldered Danny sepia ..and liked that, too,because it resulted in this image! Thank you.

    • Yes, I was thinking of you when I decided to include that my own shoulder was red, as well. I knew if I didn’t………

  2. Really lovely and a good reminder to not give up on a day ’til it’s done. 🙂

  3. Wonderful colours on that shot. What a great find.

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