Where: Richmond, VA • Glidewell Rd.
Notes: I was working in my home-office when the local pack of Blue Jays became extremely alarmed about something in the back yard. So, I decided to grab my camera and see what all the fuss was about. "Perhaps the resident Red-shoulder might be the culprit", I thought. Earlier that day it had been sitting on the powerline just down the street. Sure enough, there was a hawk perched in the Silver Maple in my neighbors front yard. In hopes of not disturbing the bird, I circled across the street and then around to where the sun was most favorable on the subject. As I had hoped, the hawk did not fly off when I approached. Finding a clear vantage point between the branches, I set the camera on the tripod and began to take several shots. I changed my depth of field, exposure compensation and speed a couple of times. This would provide a good variety of images to choose from. The bird seemed focused on something on the ground, but would occasionally lift its head up to look around too. After a while, it hopped off of the branch and dove straight down. Flying low, it turned the corner of the house and went out of sight. I stalked to the corner of the house and peeked around the sideyard. I did not see the hawk anywhere. I was convinced it had landed on the ground. After searching for a few moments, I looked up and straight ahead. There it was, at eye level, only fifteen feet away! Again, the raptor surveyed the ground and then leaped from its perch. It landed on the ground and drove its powerful talons into some medium sized bird, that I had not even noticed. Its prey was motionless within seconds. After tightening its ratchet grip on its prey, the hawk flew up to a low perch and landed. It had killed a Sharp-shinned Hawk! Next, it glided a few feet away to the leaf covered ground with its catch and began to pluck the feathers off the "Sharpie". What an exciting event to witness!