Monday, October 19, 2009

Hawk Ridge

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the weather, with cool nights and comfortably warm days, I love the changing colors of the leaves, and I love watching the migrating birds. Usually during the fall is when I get to see and photograph a lot of raptors and this year has been even better then most. A lot of that has to do with all of the volunteer work that I have been doing lately. This weekend I spent Saturday up at Hawk Ridge in Duluth helping out. Some of the color is already gone, due to our early snow, but the view from up on the bluffs is still magnificent.
While I was up at Hawk Ridge I took the opportunity this time to adopt some birds. Adoption is one of the ways that the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory supports all of the education and outreach programs that they do, not only during migration but year round in Duluth and the surrounding area. As part of the adoption you get the extreme privilege of holding your adopted bird and returning it back to the wild. At the times that I had volunteered earlier in the fall I held back on adopting birds to let other people get the opportunity to experience this rare privilege but with fall coming to an end, the education programs at the ridge end at the end of October, I decided that it was my turn. So I ended up adopting two northern goshawks.
Part of the reason that I decided to go up on Saturday was because it was the last time this year that they would be holding an owl program in the evening. I have really wanted to go to one of the owl programs but because of logistical reasons, like I live three hours away, I had not had the chance. So this time I reserved a hotel room and I was able to make it to the owl program. This was fortunate because it turned out to be a great night for owls. There were several owls that had been sent over from the banding stations and were ready for adoption when I arrived. Most of the owls that were adopted were northern saw-whet owls. These diminutive owls are one of the owls that I was really hoping to see and be able to photograph, since I did not yet have any saw-whet pics. There were five of them that were adopted and when they were released many of them were not in a hurry to leave.
Another owl that I did not have pictures of before Saturday was the long-eared owl. There were two of them that were up for adoption and so I decided that I would adopt one of them.
The final owl that was adopted that night was a barred owl. I have seen barred owls up close before, we have one as an education bird at The Raptor Center, and I have photographed one in the wild in Florida but I still have not photographed one in the wild in Minnesota. I have seen them quite a few times but usually they are gone before I get a chance to get a pic. Maybe I can change that this winter. If you want more info on Hawk Ridge or adopted birds at Hawk Ridge then check out their website here. They do take pics of the release but it will be a while before I get a copy of those, they have a lot of pictures to go through. Once I receive those pics I will make sure that I share them here.


15 comments:

Arija said...

Fall is my favourite season as well so I doubly appreciate seeing your leaf turn while we are in the miidle of spring.

Kevin said...

What great looking birds. We have a raptor centre near us that is fascinating to visit.

It looks as though you have a beautiful fall coming up.

Sylvia K said...

Your photos are magnificent! Love the colors in the first one and close up shots of the owls and the hawk! Really fascinating! It does look as though you're in for a beautiful autumn!

Enjoy!

Sylvia

sixstars said...

Great to see such beautiful birds and well photographed. Sounds like you have a lot on your hands so its always good to learn something new from your posts.

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Beautiful photos of your adopted birds and you obviously had a great day with them.
Janice.

Carver said...

Great post. I love seeing the fall foliage and the hawk and owls are wonderful. Great to hear about the program.

Martha Z said...

Wonderful photos.
A number of raptors winter where I live and I need to be sure I take my camera on my walks. A Swainson's hawk with a snake took off right in front of me the other day and no camera.

eileeninmd said...

Great post and photos of the raptors. I love the owls.
Thanks for sharing.

Coffeedoff said...

Amazing bird pictures, gorgeous birds.

JOE TODD said...

Great photos as always. The Foliage in Ohio is pretty good right now

sweet bay said...

I loved seeing the owls. The view of Lake Superior is magnificent.

Larry D said...

Great post, good work.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Owls are so beautiful in there own way, great photos

Kcalpesh said...

Beautiful, sharp, perfectly focused and detailed images! Love seeing these images!

- Pixellicious Photos

Kim said...

Great shot of that juvenile Northern Goshawk! Hawk Watching has turned into one of my favorite things to do in the fall. Fresh air and raptors, what could be better!