Monday, November 13, 2017

Raptors, Raptors and more Raptors!

Most of my weekend mornings, I am scouting for Bald Eagle nests for the upcoming Bald Eagle Nest Watch.  It is fun to discover new nests and I love exploring new areas around Dane County, Wisconsin.   I had finished up looking for another nest and I was headed home when I saw a sign for Indian Lake County Park.  I decided to check it out and I'm really glad I did.

So, the first raptor is technically not a raptor but a songbird.  I saw it right away when I pulled up into the parking lot.  A striking grey bird with a raptor-like reputation.  The Northern Shrike was flitting around in the trees and bushes.  It perched long enough for me to take a not so great shot but it was awesome to see this honorary member of the raptor family.

I walked around the lake for a little while and I kept thinking, "what a good spot this would be for a Bald Eagle."  Pretty much on queue, I noticed an adult landing on perch with what looked like a fish.   He eventually finished his meal and then headed across the lake to perch where I got this distance shot of him.

On the way back to my car, I saw yet another raptor.  At first, I thought it might be a Red-shouldered Hawk like the above one from my old New York backyard but no luck.  It turned out to be it's more common cousin the Red-tailed Hawk.

I thought the raptor fest was over and I was about back to my car when I saw another raptor.  What luck!  A beautiful female Northern Harrier was hunting over the grasses near the lake.  She circled the  area a number of times looking for prey in the grass but then headed over the tree line to hunt elsewhere.

What a great morning with my favorite group of birds and my first opportunity to photograph a Northern Harrier!  I will definitely be stopping off at Indian Lake County Park again.