Friday, July 29, 2011

First of 3 Swainson Hawks in Salida, CO area

I was surprised to find 3 Swainson Hawks just outside Salida a few days ago and this young bird was the first one I found. This area has a history of Swainson Hawks but this seems quite unusual. Since the San Luis Valley which is just over Poncha Pass from Salida is in an 'extreme drought' it is possible that Swainson's that usually use that area have moved up (elevation is around 7,000 feet above sea level here) to where the streams and irrigation ditches are full of water for the hay fields and meadows.
The strong breeze was helpful in separating feathers on this bird. I stayed in my car and used it as a 'blind' to get these pics with my long telephoto set-up (approx 900 mm equivalent). SeEtta