Stanley saw them first. Actually, he had been hearing their particular screech for awhile now on our morning walks, commenting “Hawk.” We would pause to search, see nothing, and I would say “Isn’t that a crow calling?” Then we would hear the ever-present crow sound out, as if reminding me that nothing else on earth should sound like that scratchy caw. And soon, Stanley would pause again, and I would hear the distinctive repetitive screech of the hawk from their eucalyptus-ringed home.
As you might have guessed, Stanley is a bird-whisperer. I am the one who fell in love with this pair, but it is Stanley who interprets them and points them out among the million other distractions that call for my attention. He has a razor-sharp ear for their sounds – an amazing quality since he has trouble hearing most everything else on earth. But the screech of this pair of neighborhood hawks calls him every time. As we stood watching, one – we think the male – flew away. The larger one, I hope the momma-to-be, flew to a more sheltered branch, then posed.
I want to say that this pair are red-shouldered hawks, but it is too early. The tail, as much as can be seen in my photos, is not the classic red of the very common red-tailed hawk. I think I see a slight smudge of copper along the shoulder mixed in with the more neutral colors. If you click on the photos, you can see a larger version, and help me with the classification. What do you think? Red shoulder or red tail or something else entirely?
The hawks will help me become a better photographer. Attempting to worm my way to better views, I appreciate the power of a telescoping lens, but the nuance still escapes me. My neck is sore with the looking up, and my hands waver with excitement as I try to hold the frame still. I may even try to learn the manual selections on this new camera for better views. As I get to know this regal pair, the camera will help me figure out exactly who they are, and what their days in our neighborhood are like.
*Many, many thanks to Tiny at http://tinylessonsblog.com/ for her inspiring story of the Osprey family in Florida. Her blog is my motivation for this new animal-world friendship, loving birds from coast to coast, then posting their antics online.