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The Harrier Ballet

young harrier perch

Friends, this hatch year Northern Harrier is leaping from his perch in response to an attack by a hatch year Bald Eagle.  I showed the fray in an earlier post.  Yesterday I went to Hawk Ridge in Duluth Minnesota in preparation for the upcoming fall migration of raptors and passerines.  Not much to report yet, but found some cedar waxwings and white throated sparrows on the hill top so til Tomorrow MJ

Weekly Photo Challenge:Fray

eagle and harrier

Friends, These juvenile birds are in a fray, the Harrier had occupied a post and the Bald Eagle thought he should leave so he dived on the Harrier and they both exploded into the air. I was ready with the big cannon lens (600mm) at Sherburne National Game Refuge.  til Tomorrow MJ

Weekly Photo Challenge here

Adult Harrier


Friends, this Northern Harrier is probably an adult male and was hunting on an open field.  You can see the blurred background as i panned with the bird in flight.  This image was taken with my old 100-400mm lens, looking forward to working a similar image with my new 150-600mm lens. til Tomorrow MJ

Badlands Harrier

badlands harrierx4Friends, had to take some time away from this blog to visit the North Dakota badlands.  Twice in one year is an unusual event, but also attended my 50th high school reunion then it is only another 150 miles to the badlands.  This is a Northern Harrier gliding over a hilltop and i was able to grab four focused images, i combined them for this composite image.  I would never been able to identify this bird without my experiences on Hawk Ridge last fall.  His brownish feathers say he is an immature bird and f you look closely you can see his owl face.  til Tomorrow MJ

Harrier Portrait

first adult harrierFriends, More book images to work on, this image of a Harrier was tilted so the bird looked wrong.  In straightening the image I found that two corners were white background, selecting the white corners, i filled with content-aware.  This did a pretty good job of filling the background area, but still had to clone some texture in, after cropping the image, the headroom needed to be increased. So much for the photoshop details, if you need more, just ask.  The plumage of this bird and his lemon-yellow eyes mark him as a semi-adult.  His gray feathers around his ruff are just starting to appear and when he is totally adult, his back feathers will be very gray.  He looks like an owl with his facial disk, but he is a Harrier.  til Tomorrow MJ

Blue-wing Teal

Friends, this beautiful duck is a blue-winged teal in Crex Meadows.  His blue wing is hidden deep in the feathers, but his head shows a little blue cast.  This was a cloudy day but his white was a beacon on the dull colored water.  This time of year, lots of cloudy weather gets people down and we have to look far and wide for some color to photograph.  Some say to photograph in black and white, but I see in color so I long for any shade of color to brighten my day.  Today I am going to Crex, maybe I will find color as the Meadows are full of Greater Sandhill Cranes gathering for the migration south.  Or maybe I will find the mature Northern Harrier that i saw last week, that would make a great photo for my hawk book.  One can dream and previsualize, but divine intervention is necessary for this to occur.  til Tomorrow MJ

Harrier Release

Friends, this Northern Harrier has been released back into the wild with a new bracelet on her leg, yesterday we showed her portrait and what she will look like in two to three years with adult eyes and plummage.  Below is an image of her wing detail, facinating to me.  

Young Harrier


Friends, this close-up shows the juvenile Northern Harrier facial structure.  He was captured at Hawk Ridge in Duluth Minnesota and banded. While the educator had him in hand, i shot his portrait. This bird has a facial disc that helps to concentrate the sounds of prey very similar to owls.  His rusty coloring will change to gray as he ages.  His antics around the Crex Meadows are especially evident in the fall as he hunts the migrating birds and ducks.  He  circles low over the cattails looking below for prey, then dives down to catch them in his talons.  Below is a Harrier hunting over Crex. til Tomorrow MJ


Northern Harrier

Friends, this large hawk is a Northern Harrier, the first one i have photographed, maybe we will see more at Hawk Ridge in Duluth, this one was seen at Crex Meadows, lots of noise, sorry, but pushing the telephoto lens a bit and still practicing my flying shots, til Tomorrow MJ

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