Tag Archives: animals

Hawkspotting

I’ve been seeing hawks lately when I’m out walking, which is new. I know partly it’s that I’m actively looking for suburban wildlife, but I’ve been doing that since last June when I started participating in iNaturalist. I started noticing how many squirrels and sparrows and phoebes and finches were around (in addition to the crows and pigeons and seagulls) right away. Maybe it’s seasonal? Maybe it’s the time of day I’ve been looking?

Whatever the reason, I’ve logged four observations over the last month or so. First, two red-shouldered hawks I spotted while hiking.

A hawk with brown feathers surrounded by mostly-bare leaves.

This is the best photo I managed to get of any of them, because it was perched in a relatively short tree at Madrona Marsh Preserve. Maybe only ten feet off the ground, just off the trail and not too far ahead of where I was standing. When I saw it, I stopped and took about five photos. It looked around, no doubt trying to spot some of the zillion tiny frogs I could hear (but not see), and then flew up to a higher tree, presumably for a better view.

A brown hawk perched on the end of a long, bare branch, a few twisted branches nearby, but mostly empty gray sky.

This one’s not as detailed, but I like the way it came out. I saw it from a few hundred feet away in a tall tree at the South Coast Botanic Garden. Yay for zoom lenses! (Though I still cropped the heck out of this shot.) It stayed there for a while, but I decided not to try to get a closer view and just continue hiking.

And then on two occasions I’ve spotted red-tailed hawks up in the same electrical transmission tower while walking along a bike path. In both cases I spotted them from a distance, perched up in the metal struts, not sure what kind of bird I was looking at until I could get closer.

Social Squirrel

I swear I’m not trying to turn this into a squirrel-themed blog, but here’s another encounter that I thought was worth sharing.

Most of the squirrels I see are really skittish around people. This one, in a city park, walked up to me and posed. I’m not sure what it was doing in the first shot, because it can’t have been trying to psych out a boxing opponent. But a few seconds later, after I’d knelt down with the camera for a better shot, it adjusted its pose into a perfect Oliver Twist, “Please sir? May I have some more?”

Tough Squirrel and Please, sir? on Flickr. Originally posted on Pixelfed and on iNaturalist.

Squirrel Guard

I saw this squirrel running across the grass, then got my camera out and caught the first photo as it ran up the side of a tree and paused, looking at me as if assessing whether I was a threat or not.

Then it ran the rest of the way up to look at a gap in the tree, perhaps assuring itself that its stash was still where it had left it.

I walked around to see that there was a hollow between the two major branches, and the squirrel turned around and planted itself firmly, staring at me as if ready to defend its hoard.

My photos taken, I walked away.

Squirrel poised defiantly in front of a hollow in a tree.

The Walnut Burglar

A squirrel stands still on top of a wall, a walnut clutched in its mouth, staring at the camera hoping I'll go away.

This squirrel bounded along a wall carrying a walnut in its mouth as I walked down the sidewalk. It stopped and looked at me as if it had been caught in the act of walnut burglary. I had enough time to snap a couple of pictures with my phone and pull out my camera for a better shot before it scampered away.