That’s what I enjoyed last weekend as we journeyed to the mid-Michigan countryside to spot raptors – the hawks, eagles, and owls that live in our woods, wetlands and even at times, in the city.
Rick had purchased a day of raptor viewing at the Ebersole auction and we finally managed to find a day when we – and our guide and generous donor, Dave – could schedule the jaunt.
Rick and our friends Mark and Jan and I met Dave at a car park and together we ventured off to find the raptors, whose nests Dave had previously scouted.
First stop, Great Horned Owls. Their nest was far from the road, and even with the scope it was difficult to see the babies, though Jan says she saw their tufted heads. The nearby windmill on the barn was handsome, though!
Then we had great fortune finding nests of red tailed hawks. We were able to catch these beautiful and massive birds sitting on their nests. No photos of those, but they were splendid!
After a picnic, we went on to enjoy watching harrier hawks dance around, and caught a glimpse of kestrels, herons and wood ducks, as well as an osprey nest at the top of a cell phone tower!
Raptor nests are huge and generally made of sticks, though at times they’ll use whatever materials are available. Dave has a bumper sticker that says “I brake for stick nests” and we can see why! He’s always on the lookout, though I think we picked the last possible weekend before the trees fully pop to do our excursion.
He said he had one last surprise for us and to follow him. We did, and he parked on the exit ramp of a busy expressway. We climbed the embankment on the opposite side of the highway and looking through the scope...
...we were fortunate to spot a part-albino red-tailed hawk.
Her mate brought in dinner, as she circled around and then we watched through the scope as she fed her two babies in the nest.
The pix of the albino are by Mark and Dave. The rest are mine (I’m better with people pix!) It was really a remarkable and rare event.
I feel so fortunate to have experienced this. It was truly a gift. Thanks, Rick for the experience and Dave for spending gas at $3.65/gallon and an afternoon taking us about!