Broke one of my golden rules yesterday at Bolivar Flats on the Texas gulf coast: have your camera ready at all times when driving off the beach. Saw this male northern harrier sitting on a fence post along the road and my camera was in the trunk. There was a good reason for that as I couldn’t get the lens off of my fluid head. Went past the harrier, stopped, took my camera off my 500F4 and put it on my 100-500, and headed back to the gray ghost.
He was very cooperative and let me get several photos before he flew away. Luckily for me, he landed on the other side of the road, which allowed for more photos and some video in better light. He was finally spooked when another car came down the road.
The not so fun part of this encounter was that I was getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Didn’t have bug spray on as there were no mosquitos on the beach, but they were very intense along the grassy area leaving the beach. Had taken my jacket off so plenty of exposed skin for the feeding frenzy that took place in my car. As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, including the mosquitos. One of those times that you just grin and bear it as it’s always worth a little blood letting for a good photo op.
1/1600 sec @ F7.1, ISO 1000, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation, 500mm (R3 + 100-500), minor cropping off left side.
I Googled this bird…very interesting and now I understand it’s name. Wow….How lucky you were to spot this one! Thank you for sharing your experience, for giving me an opportunity to see a Harrier, and to learn something! Both wonderful holiday 🎁 gifts!!
December 17, 2022 at 3:45 pm
Thank you very much Diane! There are tons of female harriers around but it’s very rare to see the male. Plus, to get one sitting on a fence post right next to the road was very special.
December 19, 2022 at 6:41 pm