A short trip back in time… 2015
Bernie, Chris and I have a history. It started in 2012.
I am writing an eBook about it. It is being edited, and I hope to publish in sometime before the end of 2017.
It contains more than 100 short adventures, mostly about training Bernie and Chris to be therapy dogs.
However, along the way I share other incidents.
This story is one…
Patience Pays Off…..
In early June 2015… I first brought my two dogs to this desert for exercise.
Within two weeks, I discovered several Cooper Hawks had staked out a small area. Each day I could find them settled in the same fifty feet. Of course, as my dogs or I approached, they flew away.
In the beginning, there were only two hawks. Within a few days, there were three, four and sometimes five. On two separate occasions, I saw six.
My stealthy approach was the reason. The time flew when I was still fifty feet away. I didn’t even realize they were flying away.
My eyes focused on one hawk… always sitting high on a low branch.
High is a relative term. The entire bush was only seven feet high. He perched on the highest branch.
He was the watch-bird. He was also a talker. At every approach, I could hear him squawking. He was giving the alarm.
The rest of the Hawks were on the ground in various locations. That’s the reason I never saw them fly away. They kept so low in flight I never noticed them.
As my stealthy approach improved, I spotted two and three hawks. I decided to use my camera and capture them in flight.
I was very naïve with that goal. My camera didn’t have a zoom lens. I could never get close enough. My camera probably didn’t have a fast-enough shutter. I couldn’t isolate flapping wings and show a spreading wingspan.
The digital camera saved me a lot of money. If I had old fashioned rolls of film, I’d waste a ton of money trying to capture a good photo. I bought a new camera with a zoom lens and faster shutter speed. I continued to be unsuccessful capturing the hawks in flight.
The delete button was probably clicked as many times as I clicked the shutter button.
As October began to fade, some days the Hawks were not there. I feared they had migrated south. Also, for more than a week, we had stormy weather.
Although I made the daily trek with the dogs to the desert, during that week, I never saw a hawk.
Finally, on October 26, 2015, I was successful. There was only one hawk around. With my camera, but not expecting much, I slowly walked near the area.
Before I was even close, Bernie and Chris decided to investigate near the hawk area. Nothing moved as they sniffed various bush about twenty feet from where I headed.
They left, and I thought if a hawk were in the area, it would have flown. However, since I was so close, I continued to scan the ground ahead.
It was a single hawk. I stopped and stayed very still. In the past, I had been fooled. One hawk may be visible, but many times there were two or three just hiding under the bush… very close by.
I’ve flushed them out less than three feet from me while trying to get just a few feet closer. It is a heart-stopper the first time it happens.
This time, there were no other Hawks close by. I positioned myself, raised the camera and waited.
I must have waited almost ten minutes… in the same position, waiting for my dogs to return. I wasn’t going to move and cause the hawk to fly. If it were going to happen, it would be the dogs that got too close.
Finally, they nosed themselves into the area.
One second I was waiting… the dogs were near…. and the next second the hawk was gone.
I’d clicked the shutter. Did I synchronize my finger at the exact moment the hawk spread his wings? It would be more than an hour before I knew.
Here is the area where the hawk was on the ground. He is extremely difficult to identify. It’s what I had to do every day since June discovery.
And here is what I finally captured ….
A bit blurry, but those wings are fully extended and swish…he’s gone.
I was less than fifteen feet when I took the picture.