Two experiences today where I was either without a camera (and it happened really fast) or I had a camera and something happened too fast to move, focus, and shoot.
Experience The First – Death From Above
I had done my usual Sunday morning COVID-based grocery run and pick up of breakfast. As I pulled into the driveway and got out, I saw a pair of red-tail hawks circling a quarter-mile or so down to the south, maybe 500′ above us. I locked the car and walked around to the trunk, popped it open, and for whatever reason I looked south for the hawks and couldn’t see them. As I looked, I heard the cry of a hawk directly overhead (exactly like the sound effect used in every Western since the first talkie hit the flicks), looked up, and saw one of them with wings tucked, in a full dive. “Death From Above” indeed!
Across the street, perched on a telephone wire, was a mourning dove. The hawk at the last second in an eyeblink extended his wings, hit the brakes, extended his claws, and that mourning dove EXPLODED into a cloud of feathers. Out of this fluttering mass of feathers emerged the hawk with its lunch, struggling a bit with the weight of its prey, but as the hill drops of pretty swiftly it made it off with no problem into the trees a couple of houses down.
As I was picking up my jaw from seeing that, the other red-tail hawk swooped in low from behind our house, crossed to where the kill had been, and perched on the power line transformer on top of the pole. I have to wonder if it went there since it was very close to where the kill had just happened, the hawk logic being that where there was one fat, slow bird, there might be others. This time I did grab my camera (as I took the cold food and hot breakfast into the house) and spent several minutes taking pictures as the second hawk scanned the neighborhood for its lunch. It finally flew off to look elsewhere, just as the memory card on my camera filled up. (RAW files will do that…)
Pictures will follow this week (probably) as I get time to process them.
Experience The Second – Buzzed By Fighters
After replacing the memory card with a new one, I was out taking pictures of the hummingbirds. There’s a whole drama thing going on with them (again, pictures to follow one of these days) but at one point the very territorial male Anna’s Hummingbird was chasing a Rufous Hummingbird away from one of the feeders.
I had been taking pictures of the Anna’s and through the lens saw the Rufous zoom through the field of view toward the feeder. The Anna’s took off like a Spitfire scrambling to take on fleet of German bombers during the Battle of Britain. The Rufous did a hard right and headed right toward my face with the Anna’s, neon red neck feathers on full display, right behind them. They went past my left ear just slightly under Mach One, just like a biological Top Gun dogfight.
It was awesome!
I don’t know if a newer, faster, better camera would have caught it (it might have – they’re pretty good these days, especially at the high end, while my two are like fifteen years old) but my didn’t even try, so no pictures for you, sorry!
“Pics Or It Didn’t Happen!”
Don’t even start with me…