Winter birding in Monroe and Wayne Counties can be fun. With camera in hand, drive. It is that simple. Rough-legged Hawks have been out there. Snow Buntings, too. I'm gonna find a Snowy Owl, dammit. It has to happen for me some day.
Sunday, with time to kill, I went for a drive in the area. It was not long before my buddy Don and I crossed paths. Doing what birders and buddies do, we jumped into one car and shot off in search of whatever the roads had in mind for us. (Fortunately, we did not get stuck in a snow drift like that other poor sap.)
While pleasantly warm given the season and the winter so far, it was quite windy. A half dozen Kestrels were in the region. I have to think one was my old friend from a few days back. Easily five Roughlegs.
One bird was perching a wire. Red-tailed Hawks so rarely do that, so we knew it had to be something a bit different. With the camera ready, I was prepared to begin my creep to its position. A split second later, it bolted. It wasn't me. It was the Bald Eagle that was moving at supersonic speeds across the field. As the eagle moved on, the Roughleg opted to head back out across the field were the eagle had just been. The angle took it right in front of the car.
With the car door cracked open, I proceeded to track the bird knowing damn well the best shot I was going to get was "an away shot" as it moved off into the distance. I get a ton of those. There is a reason you don't see shots like that in the magazines. They suck.
Well, remember that wind? For whatever reason, the bird opted to slow forward progress, hover briefly, and do a "wing over" to head back in the other direction. Within a split second, it appeared to have lost both lift and momentum. With "landing gear" down, it floated on the wind for just a moment, as if in panic, before it moved on at lightning speed, clearly embarrassed with such a poor flight demonstration.
The whole time, I had her in my sights.
Photographically speaking, the image is a bit "soft". The tail especially so. Checking things out after the fact, I realized that, while I had her in my sights, I did not have the "red dot" of the autofocus on her. I missed her a bit so the image is not as crisp as one would think or want.
But I'll take it. It'll do.