Red-tailed Hawk Messages for 2020

This Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, welcomed my New Year’s day arrival at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. And stayed for numerous photo opportunities!
Happy 2020!
“Red-tailed Hawks: can awaken visionary power and lead you to your life purpose. It is the messenger bird, and wherever it shows up, pay attention. There is a message coming.” — Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

New Year’s Day 2020 I packed all my assorted camera gear into the car and headed to Rhode Island. I’d made a quick stop at Beavertail State Park but the winds were stiff and the Harlequins, scoters, and eiders were few and far off-shore. I headed to Sachusest National Wildlife Refuge and was not disappointed as the Red-tailed Hawk that had watched me walk past from a roof-top position suddenly took to the air to follow me. An awesome start to 2020! The lighting was not the best with many white clouds and small patches of bright sun, my camera set on some strange settings, and my decision to bring a 300mm 2.8 with a 2x extender for handholding ocean bird shots. I have to thank the winds as they helped keep this hawk afloat above me allowing me to photograph it without having too many tracking challenges.

There is little to compare to the moment of eye-contact with wildlife, and this Red-tailed Hawk did not disappoint!
There was an occasional fly-over to a patch of blue sky.

I did manage to adjust my camera settings between a series of quick shots and lean my head back with a heavy camera and lens balanced and frozen between my arms. The winds were with me and the hawk enjoyed moments of simply being suspended in the air allowing me to capture images that may otherwise have been challenging! My position in the trail between the two foraging fields was perfect!

Despite what appeared to be a full crop, the sight of a meal brought a quick change of direction and dive.

There must have been a successful catch as it was a few minutes before the hawk once again took flight. Too soon the hawk decided to fly to new areas that were out of range and sight. You will be my first of the year Red-tailed Hawk but not the last!

Surf Scoter, Melanitta perspicillata

I made my way to the rocky ocean shore where I knew I should have at least some ocean birds to see if not photograph. There was a small group of scoters, scaups, eiders, and one stray Harlequin with this one Surf Scoter hanging around close enough for some nice viewing and photo opportunities. I made my way down the rocks as close as I dared to avoid scaring him off and getting a stray shower from the waves. What a ham he was! Preening and diving and playing in the waves. I spent some time enjoying his company before heading off as he drifted further away from the rocky shore. I was happy to see a group of folks had gathered on the trail directly overhead to enjoy his antics. I spent the day, except for a quick trip to Newport for lunch, but not a single Snowy or Short-eared Owl was to be seen. It had been my hope that at least one would be a welcome blessing after an awful 2019 and help kick-off an optimistic start to 2020. The Red-tailed Hawk seemed to be the one to come to share a message and show the way down a new path of many hopeful and exciting possibilities I’d been tossing around.

Raptors and Rehabilitation

Amber – Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
A Place Called Hope

One day there was an invite to join some photographer groups while they were taking images of the Ambassador Birds at A Place Called Hope. So, never one to say no when opportunity knocks, off I went. I took a lot of snapshots as I didn’t want to get in the way of those paying for this opportunity. What a lovely two days! I was so grateful for being able to look these amazing beings in the eyes, see their different expressions, observe their movements, and watch their reactions to the audience and cameras all aimed at them. They were the center of everyone’s attention and what actors they were! Yes, look closely as there are curious looks, angry glares, and even fearful flinches. You need to be able to see in order to do so.

What is Amber trying to convey?

It was Amber, the Great Horned Owl that I seemed to connect with. Owls are a favorite anyway so seeking out an owl came naturally. Her expressions drew me in and enticed me to get to know her just a little bit better. I quickly become aware of the personality she has and her desire to share a bit of herself with us, her audience. An actor entertaining her admirers. Not all wildlife have the inclination to entertain but connecting with those that do becomes an enlightening experience.

Something in the sky that Amber does not like!

The simple invite for images has turned into a major project with exhibits in Beacon Falls, Seymour, Derby, Ansonia, Guilford, Branford, Hartford, Waterbury, and twice in New Haven. The exhibit at the Ives Gallery in New Haven was the largest with 60 images and I had an awesome review in the New Haven Independent! by Brian Slattery. He said it all so well! Ives Gallery Gives Sanctuary to Raptors.

The many faces of Amber
The many faces of Amber
The many faces of Amber

If you are interested in my curating a solo exhibit please contact me: I have a variety of options from one image of each of the 15 birds to 4 each. Some of the exhibit options can include an image of a wing or tail feather in a shadow box. All of the exhibits come with some educational information making them perfect for nature centers or libraries. They also work well as an exhibit in a cafe or workplace. Depending on location and availability, some of the openings have included a couple of APCH raptor visitors! Stop by my website to see some of the images of the fifteen raptors that have been in the various exhibit: SophieZylaPhotos; Raptors & Rehab

The many faces of Amber

To learn about the work that A Place Called Hope does, schedule a photography visit, host an event, have raptor ambassadors to your party, or donate to help the birds visit their website: A Place Called Hope

For a sampling of photo exhibits and images available for showing at your venue visit: > Photo Exhibit & Gallery Images:

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