I am back from another amazing camping trip to southwestern Montana and I am a bit exhausted but elated too. I saw clouds, sunshine, wind and snow and the lowest temp was 11°F. Brr! There were plenty of birds some days and a dearth of them at other times but all in all I am very pleased with the images I came back with.
For three days I had great fun photographing two very obliging Swainson’s Hawk juveniles at the east end of the Centennial Valley and by obliging I mean they were very approachable. Vehicles passed by them at a distance of about 6 feet and they didn’t even flinch.
I was able to get close ups of this juvenile from the road as it perched on a fencepost and scanned the fields for grasshoppers. I just love the shades of browns, tans and cream colored plumage of this light morph juvenile Swainson’s. I also appreciate the great look at the bill, lores and luminescent eye.
The young Swainson’s still called quite often for the adult that was nearby but out of the range of my lens and on the wrong side of the light. This young bird of prey will soon be making a journey of thousands of miles to South America if it hasn’t already headed that way. For the last couple of days in Montana it wasn’t at the location where I photographed it but I am not sure if they migrated or if the hundreds of cows that were moved into that area of the refuge kept them away.
Over the next few days I will most likely be sitting at my computer culling a couple of thousand images and selecting some of them to share here on my blog along with the stories behind the images.
It is good to be back home but it is always hard for me to say goodbye to the Centennial Valley and its wild inhabitants for the year. I’ll miss it.