The local weathermen nailed last night’s forecast: we had thunderstorms and hard rain during the night; and today, although mostly without rain, stayed cold and without sunshine, as they forewarned.
But after almost a week of being indoors, I was in serious need of outdoor time. I charged my camera this morning and loaded it, my binoculars and cold weather rain-gear into my truck, and headed to one of my favorite winter-day destinations, Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.
I know excellent birding photographers, with lenses and camera and skills more capable than mine, who do not “shoot” on such a dark, sunless day. Dark days mean opening up the camera’s aperture, sacrificing any depth of field, not to mention detailing of crisp feathering.
But some of my favorite poor-quality photos come from days like today. They capture a great memory of what I consider to be best-weather birding. There is a reason that the children’s book, “It Chanced to Rain” is on my list of all time favorite reads.
And so I drove away this morning, in misting rain, excited about that one thing I know: the Feathered Ones, like me, enjoy being out and about on days like today.
I came home with some 900 photos, mostly too dark to develop. But I’ll enjoy sorting and keeping the few that will be surprises. The best surprise is the subject of today’s blog post: photos of a White-tailed Hawk!
My first sighting of a White-tailed Hawk was in Freeport, December 2009; my second sighting was at the entrance to Bentsen State Park, November 2011. Today is my first sighting with photos!
Even if you aren’t a birder (yet), Google the White-tailed Hawk and look up its range map. If you live in North America you only have two options for adding this Buteo to your life list: Come to the coastal savanna of Texas, or go to Mexico.
With little daylight, I was thrilled to get enough quality of picture to see both the perched coloring and the in-flight markings of white tail, black tail band, and white tail tip.
It was a great day in the field; Brazoria NWR never disappoints.
May your winter’s day be birdy!