While out for a drive…

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swainson’s hawk

Swainson’s Hawks Return

pair of Swainson's hawks

There has been a pair of Swainson’s Hawks returning to nest in the big pine tree by Cache Creek for several years now, and have produced several offspring.
I spotted these two in the dead tree near the old pine; and although I can’t identify any markings I’m betting that they’ve been here before.

Great Horned Owl & Swainson’s Hawks

great horned owl photo

"I'm not going anywhere!"

I was attending to some weeding in the vegetable garden when I heard the piercing cries of a pair of Swainson’s Hawks that had been nesting in a nearby pine tree. When I turned to look I saw a hawk with wings folded diving in a speedy vertical descent. Then  seconds later there was an explosion of feathers and pine needles! At that point I saw a Great Horned Owl making a miraculous escape out of the pine and taking refuge in a small Oak tree. The Swainson was in hot pursuit, but the owl was well protected in the heavy cover of the scrubby oak.

As I moved into position with my camera I noticed that there was not one one but three owls in the oak. They were young,smallish, and somewhat intimidated. I got a picture of this one, staring over his shoulder at me, with absolutely no intention of moving. With the owls out of the pine ( where the hawk nest was) the Swainsons eventually lost interest and went about other business.

Hawk Encounter

I’m walking down the levee of a tule ditch, and I see this hawk in a tree. I think that it’s a Swainson’s, but I don’t know, they seem to have so many different color phases. It looks like that it will make a good photo shot, so I decide to try to get a little closer; but he flares and flies up ahead to another tree. I slowly approach the tree with my trusty camera at the ready. Again he flares. And again! I’m guessing that I’ve maximized his “fight or flight” distance; but finally he stands his ground, and gives me the “evil eye”! I quickly capture his image, and then end the needless harassment.

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