Cherish is my favorite word, and I cherish the ability of turning the routine into a beautiful moment.
Nature creates in me, a spiritual and meditative time to bring peace, harmony and balance, into an otherwise ordinary day~
Mary Howell Cromer

Monday, March 12, 2012

Second Encounter With the Rare Hybrid~

What a privilege to be able to view this beautiful Raptor once again!

I know that many people do not appreciate Raptors and yet, they are simply doing as nature intended them to do. We all live according to a food chain code, even those whom are vegetarians, live by a certain code, and the Raptors are doing what it is, in their code to do.

On February 18, I had my first encounter with this beautiful Red-Shouldered/Red-tailed hybrid. I am grateful to Pete Gustas, for suggesting to me that this may very well be a hybrid and then giving me the amazing news, that it was.

Any time that I can view a Raptor up close and personal, I am game, and now knowing the rarity of this particular hawk, gave me even more reason to seek it out. Last week, I drove the 30 to 45 minute drive 3 different times, and the husby went a fourth time as well.

On Friday morning, I decided at the first of dawn's light, that I would make the trek ...I was determined. It is a lovely ride too, as both Jefferson and Oldham counties have deemed this route as a scenic byway.

I had taken our German Shepherd with me and was giving her a bit of a walk about, when from the ground up flew the hawk into a nearby tree...whoosh, it took my breath away and I had to all but drag my poor dog back to the car, so that I could master a few captures before the hawk took off. I ended up feeling bad for hurrying Meaka up too, for as it turned out, the hawk hunted for nearly an hour and it was incredible just observing and snapping off a few pretty nice images.

It would fly from the lamp light and then back down onto it again, repositioning itself to look from a different vantage point. Then it would see something and fly to the same tree that I saw it in 3 weeks prior. I never saw it go to the ground again and was monitoring the dog who was upset about another pooch being in our area, and that quickly, lost the direction that the hawk flew away in... I have been back 3 more times since Friday, but no other sighting. It has such a nice large area to hunt from, and the territory it handles, is even greater.

My patience and perseverance has paid off a second time and it is such a wonderful opportunity to view this awesome looking bird so closely. At one point when it flew up to the lamp light, (I had moved my car so that the dog would not be able to see the invading pooch and do her barking routine...she thinks that she is a human being and that all dogs are her enemies!) and I could literally just place my camera on the window's edge and take photographs. Since the park is often crowded with people, this bird is not as wary as so many other hawks that I try to photograph. For a little while, I actually stood outside my car, until I became too chilled and had to retreat and the hawk would just glance my way and then go about it's day, even preening itself. I liked that this gave me a way to view it's wonderful feather colourations better too.

It shall become far more interesting as well, for in this same tree, an American Robin couple have claimed a branch and built themselves a very sturdy mud and grass nest...
oh my...
Another marvelous encounter, of a cherished moment in nature~

*Note...OK Phil and Gary...the pressure is off, at least for this week;)


I am also linking with World Bird Wednesday, please visit other birding photographers and enthusiasts from around the world at:


  1. An amazing story. You are indeed fortunate to have access to these marvelous creatures. and of course great photos. Yep spring is coming.

  2. BTW I meant to tell you, my hubby does not blog but he sure enjoys your posts and he is a bird lover. He loves to ride the back roads and see them. He will not give photography a try, too much to remember he says.

  3. its feather patterns in flight are just so beautiful! so glad you got to see him again!

  4. Terrific series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  5. Yet another beautiful account of a chance of nature! Superb images and lovely account of your lucky backyard Mary! Peter

  6. What a wonderful story and what a beautiful bird.

  7. I love the bird flying, serious photos. Oh, I am a vegetarian, but, I love the raptors diet of meat.

  8. That is a stunning bird and an amazing story Mary. I love this post and would love to see the bird.

  9. What a beautiful series of images!

  10. Hello Mary,
    Fantastic shots of this beautiful raptor. They've got a great head.
    Nice to see him in the tree. I like this shots!!

    Much greetings,

  11. Lovely shots again, Mary. I do love those composites pictures you do - must have a go at that!

  12. Mary, your piece of birding history is fascinating, and you have a set of magnificent captures, especially of the bird in flight. Those robins better watch their backs!

  13. Hi Mary. A fabulous series of images from your recent encounter.

  14. Wow, fantastic collection of hawk shots. I am happy to hear you got a second chance to see this rare hawk.

  15. Amazing shots!
    The ones in flight are just gorgeous!
    What a wonderful experience.

  16. A wonderful bird to see.. fantastic images.
    Many thanks for all the info.

  17. Great photos of this magnificent bird.

    Regards and best wishes

  18. Great photos and a very wonderful experience to be able to watch this hawk for such a long time.

  19. That first flight shot is really very, very good!

    What a great bird to see.

    Stewart M - Australia

  20. What an awesome story and pictures....The ones of him in flight are just unbelievable.....

    Thanks for the visit.....

  21. Wonderful photos of this beautiful bird! How great to see! /Susanne

  22. What an amazing sighting and how wonderful that you were able to take so many photos of it!

  23. Great images again Mary and how wonderfully you describe your adventure in finding the same bird again. I think if I lived closer i would just have to take a look at that bird - it just seems to know it is a little special.

  24. Your photos are gorgeous, Mary!

  25. What a beautiful combination. I see red-tail and red-shoulder hawks all the time but have never seen a hybrid.

    Beautiful captures.

  26. Elegant, so proud and so very beautiful.....what an incredibly magnificient creature, Mary!!

    I can imagine how exciting it must be to be so close to it; fabulous!!!

    It's majestic look; it's gorgeous flight...!

    I do love each imagine, cara, but the one photograph you signed....its of breathtaking beauty!!!!!!

    How outrageously fantastic did you shoot this hawk; such an OUTSTANDING Photo, cara Mary!!!!
    All my biggest compliments!!!

    Take care and ciao ciao elvira

  27. Wonderful series. I love the ruffled feathers look.

  28. How astute of you to notice this bird was different. It would have been so easy to assign it to one species or the other. what wonderful captures you got of it! Truly amazing! what a great experience!


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