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Gary Irwin wrote:
Gary, Awesome capture of the Rough-legged hawk, the low perspective and those surroundings work so well with the birds colors.Were you laying down or kneeling when you shot this? You guys over in Ontario are getting some great oppurtunities with the Owls and Hawks.Makes me want to consider a roadtrip over there.
Thanks Scott -- I got lucky with this guy (gal?). Roughies are very tough to get close to, but as with many hawks, sometimes immatures seem to be a little more tolerant. I shot this one from the car, using it as a blind. I was "stalking" it for some time as it was hunting near the road. At one point it landed on a fence post so I took the TC off and prepared for a flight shot -- missed that but was pleasantly surprised to see him land about 40 feet away on a rise in the field which allowed me to clear the fence and shoot pretty well at eye level. Like I said; lucky. Of course I've spent hundreds of hours shooting this particular area since last fall, so you have to get lucky some time, right?
Keep in mind Ontario is a pretty big province. I'm in London, about half way between Detroit and Toronto. Down here in the winter we're mostly limited to red tails, rough-legged, coopers, sharpies, bald eagles, and kestrels and a few screech, great horned, short eared and the odd Snowy Owl, but Snowy's have been thin down our way this year. Up further north/east of Toronto and especially around Ottawa, Algonquin and into Quebec are where most of the Great Grey and Snowy Owl shots are coming from. Often the shots are of the same owl -- you need to be "plugged in" to local the birding community to know where to go -- precise locations are rarely published anywhere.
If you want to maximize the chance for success you need to make solid plans and give yourself some extra time. For example, although there have been plenty of Great Grey sightings in Algonquin this Winter, don't expect to just drive up and see one right away...it may take a couple of days or longer. If you really want to shoot some Snowy Owls, the best bet is to head up to Quebec -- where the locals actually feed them!
Thanks Gary, Sometimes it just pays to be lucky.