February 28, 2014 New Orleans

Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material

Red-shouldered Hawks and Woodies

A welcome change of pace this morning when I was greeted with clear skies and cool temps, a second straight day of nice weather!

Click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

I went looking for wood ducks first thing and found several pairs drifting around just offshore from their nesting boxes on the shores of the large pond in the middle of the park.

Wood duck drake
Wood duck drake

I got one quick shot of this drake on top of his nesting box just before he flew off. I just can’t get close enough to these guys to get any decent shots. They are without a doubt, the easiest to spook ducks I have run across.

Wood duck drake
Wood duck drake

As I circled the park, I came across a beautiful hawk on the ground standing over some small prey he had caught. When I stopped for a shot, of course he took off. Just a beautiful bird that at that moment I could not identify. Circling around to see if I could relocate him, I saw some motion in the trees above me and noticed the beginnings of a nest in the bare trees above me. I decided to stop, pull out the tripod, and the rocking chair, and wait to see if the nest and the hawks might be related.

Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material

Soon after, first one, then another, red-shouldered hawk flew over carrying twigs to the nest I had spotted. Though there were too many branches in the way to get any good shots of them on the nest, I was able to get several half decent shots of them coming and going.

Red shouldered hawks
Red shouldered hawks

Also was able to get them sitting on their favorite perch high up in a dead tree 100 feet or so from their nest.

Little blue heron
Little blue heron

While I was shooting the hawks, this little blue heron flew in and landed on the bridge railing only a short distance from me. Even though I plan to depart the park for Florida tomorrow morning, I will have to come back out here before I do, weather permitting, this hawk nesting site has some great possibilities!

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