I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. For three weeks I've been battling a nasty case of Sinusitis. I think I've cleared up the infection, but my head still feels like someone took the end of a bike pump, shoved in up my nose without me looking, pumped my head full of air, and then sealed it shut with super glue. It isn't fun. Fortunately I've been taking it easy and Megan has helped me immensely. Needless to say, we've put our metroparks challenge on hold until I get better. My nature adventures have been limited, but when I have had a chance to get a few nature photographs, I feel I have made the most of my opportunities.
We spent Thanksgiving at my Parents home in Munroe Falls, Ohio. Behind their house on city-owned property is a nice little gully that supports a spring fed head water stream. A pair of what I believe are red-shouldered hawks frequents this woods and lowlands, and I happened to glance outside the kitchen window on Thursday and spotted this well camouflaged bird.
Zeroing in on a prey item near the stream, the hawk let me approach without any sign that it knew I was there.
A glance down to change my camera settings, and I thought it was on to me and flew away, but after about thirty seconds, it alighted once again, this time closer to me. I hadn't scared this bird, but it had flown down into the bottomlands to capture a prey item. What would this hawk be going for? A mammal, I thought, like a small mouse, or perhaps a frog. I couldn't tell what exactly it had caught until I downloaded the images this evening. I believe the prey item was some type of crayfish- check out that claw extending out from the grip of the hawk. You might be able to see it more easily by clicking on the image.
I was lucky that I not only saw the hawk, but also got to witness some very cool behavior. After a little research, it seems that red shouldered hawks frequent swampy areas and lowland forests (an "ah ha" moment for me- that's why they're frequent in Sanibel, and they're also in my parent's stream gully) so I'm guessing this crayfish is a fairly typical food item for this individual.