Saturday, January 23, 2010

Super Duper Cooper's HAWK!


I have been working on a photography project with a drop- dead deadline. Every morning, I'm at my computer between seven-thirty and eight. It's easy for me to sit there for three or four hours not moving more than my fingers on the keyboard. If I get up from the chair, it's to let the dogs out, then let them back in. I have to repeat that process, since they can't seem to make up their minds, especially if I'm trying to concentrate. They always know when I'm concentrating and like to bust it up.
     Being at my 'work' so unfailingly every day sounds like I'm really disciplined, but I'm not. I'm singular in my focus when my creative self has kicked in. I think this is a symptom of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), which I do have. When I get a thing in my head, I can't shut it off. This is great when I have a project to work on, but it can also be a big problem. My inability to 'give it up' has cost me jobs and cumulatively, weeks of sleep.
     Sometimes at night, the shards of a work of poetry start spinning around in my brain keeping me awake until four in the morning. I become fixated. One reason I'm convinced this is a symptom of ADHD is because it's all or nothing for me. My house is either a hog pen because I haven't cleaned in a month, or spotless because I've used Qtips to dig out every crack. When I'm working on a project, I'm apt to not quite get around to brushing my hair or teeth or getting dressed. And, so it was today.
     I made good headway on my project, but by noon, I was still in my bathrobe. Having appeased my dogs with the revolving door, I was hunched over the keyboard, deep in concentration. Suddenly, this hawk was sitting on the rail of the deck not ten feet from my face! I did have the camera, but the hawk was too fast and took off. I went outside to look for it, finding it close by in a tree. There were several branches between it and me that made it hard to get a good clean shot. I saw that I'd have to go into the yard to get the photographs that I wanted. But, there are almost two feet of snow on the ground right now and no path where I needed to go. So, there was nothing to do but put on my boots.
     I have serious, tall, 'for-when-the-snow-is-really-deep' boots. However, the snow is deeper than deep right now, slightly over my knees (I know I'm short, but still...). My "Lucky Bathrobe" was snuggley warm, but the snow that came over the tops of my boots and up into the robe, was not. Nonetheless, I slogged to where I could get better photos of my target. Once able to get a clear shot, I waited hoping that the bird would fly which it did.
     Its flight was expedited by a herd of fourteen Bluejays that took it upon themselves to drive the hawk away. When it flew, I started shooting nine frames a second as I panned my lens along with the bird, left to right. As the hawk swooped past me, I twisted and stepped right, a  tactical mistake. My boots bound in snow like cement and over I went. Bathrobe flapping, camera aloft, I made a magnificent snow angel. Flat on my back, snow up the robe, I burst into peels of laughter, seeing my hawk prize disappear out of the corner of my eye. The cold surprise did snap me from my project uni-focus; there was nothing to do after that but get dressed. I wonder why my physician has never recommended snow shock for the management of my ADHD.
This is a Cooper's Hawk, probably an immature female. Cooper's hawks are agile birds of prey that zoom through trees and bushes in pursuit of other birds. 

Bluejays often harass birds of prey much larger than themselves. They usually do it in groups. I guess they reason there's safety in numbers.


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39 comments:

  1. Fantastic in-flight shots Robin. Is the snow angel imprint still outside? LOL.

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  2. Thank you, Early Birder! I do my best, dressed or not. And believe me, the snow angel imprint is the only thing angelic about me. :)

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  3. Yup - Einstein was the same way (ADHD)! Just couldn't let it go. Nothing to be ashamed of. Now, if you just concentrate on that unified field theory that eluded Albert all those years at Princeton...

    Sir Isaac Newton XIV

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  4. I have 'deep snow' boots too, for whatever reason they just aren't working for me lately. I use my ADHD as an excuse for not getting anything done - I just claim I saw something 'shiny'.

    Great action shots Robin! :)

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  5. You did good kid.. I love you cooper hawk..
    Betty B.

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  6. Your blog came in while I was at Bowdoin College watching a hockey game; So in the midst of crazed hockey fans, my immediate reaction is that you clearly have a case of ABDPBFOSAYAAI (Attention Bathrobe Deficit Plus my Boots are Full of Snow and You are an Idiot) . There is no cure, by the way. But I like the Pix.

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  7. Fantastic photos.How come I never see what you see when we are only 2 doors down ??bmc aka ellen

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  8. Ellen, probably because you clean your house so you don't look out the windows as much as I do. Hey there's a price on everything!

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  9. This is a great one and the photos of the hawk are magnificent.

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  10. My hair also evokes Albert Einstein. I may have something really going here!

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  11. So, Ted, was the hockey game really that boring that my blog too momentary precedent? WOW! Get the puck outta he'ah!

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  12. Thank you, Betty. I'm thinking maybe Glennie???

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  13. Renee, yes, indeedy - the whole world is something shiny to me! Caw, Caw, Caw! That was VERY funny, lady!

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  14. Robin, Really nice shots of the Cooper's Hawk. The best shot was missed though. The snow angel would have been great.

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  15. Thanks, Jim. I did think of that after the fact. I was a little distracted by the snow up the robe!

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  16. I've got the high boots; must be my bathrobe is the wrong color or brand causing all the birds to hide from me.Lots of squirrels I do have .. Great pics.
    Ron

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  17. Ron, my bathrobe is pretty ratty, now. But, it IS monogrammed. Maybe that's the ticket! Thanks.

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  18. You DO have wonderful adventures! I have a feeling a lot of these birds
    pass around the info that there's a lady down the shore that takes
    photos of them and so, stars in their eyes, they come for their bit of
    fame. You caught some lovely wing action!
    Jo.

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  19. great story -- fantastic photo - hawk eye to hawkeye.

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  20. A beautiful sunset photo!!The hawk is wonderful and so lovely too.
    I almost at the point where I might want to retire my robe. When
    I do I'll let you know.

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  21. "These are fantastic photos, Robin! I love Coop's and especially Northern Goshawks. A friend of mine once likened the hunting style of accipiters to the speeder bikes from Star Wars, zipping through the trees! I think it's a pretty good description!"

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  22. Thanks, Sean. That's a great description of the hawks' hunting style.

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  23. david your job is to get a picture of your wife in her "lucky" robe & snow boots and hopefully something underneath....perhaps out in the yard!

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  24. I'm thinking of nominating you to take Conan O'brien's slot. Your show would feature you in your bathrobe, stalking birds around Phippsburg. The prat-falls in the snow would be awesome. You would enjoy immense success...and then NBC will fire you.

    My favorite shot is the 3rd, with the little jay trying to sneak under the perched raptor. Nice shots. Mike

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  25. Tell ya what: if I get the 32 million, anybody can fire me for any reason. AND, I'll roll in the snow in my bathrobe!

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  26. Nice shot of he hawk in flight!

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  27. Now that I have a mental picture, what do I do with it???? Hehehehe!

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  28. Wow, gorgeous in-flight shots, and all the more so for the adversity you overcame to get them. A bathrobe malfunction is obviously a much colder, lonelier place than a wardrobe malfunction ;).

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  29. Thanks, Robin. Yes, a cold, lonely situation indeed. Do you suppose if I fell over out there and couldn't get up that my dogs would rescue me?

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  30. I like that I can get caught up on 2 or 3 entries of yours at one time! Have forgotton to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the shot of the cabin on the grounds of the camp my friend attended as a girl across from your house, with the ice covered deciduous trees in the background, taken in the morning. In my more adventurous days, I have come down Totman cove at low tide to get there.
    Perhaps when you get a bit older and possibly stiffer, you'll pull on a pair of sweatpants upon arising to keep your nether regions warmer while in that bathrobe or its replacement.

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  31. WOW! Exquisite flight shots of the Cooper's Robin!!

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  32. Absolutely AWESOME photos Robin. I agree that a photo of the snow angel would have completed the story nicely! Next time you fall...okay?
    Love you- Ms. Boo

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  33. Love your opening blog photo as well as the others...brilliant colors! The first hawk photo appears to have an evil eye staring right at you. You better have something to protect yourself when it returns. I just can't imagine what the neighbors peering through their binoculars on Hermit Island think when they see you in action!
    HG

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  34. Ms. Boo, believe me, that's not the first time my stability has been questioned. Or that my lack of stability for the future has been guaranteed!

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  35. HG,
    One of the beauties of living here is that there aren't any neighbors in the winter. There's nary a living soul on Hermit Island other than deer and porcupines! I'm sure if there were that someone would have called the police about my antics by now!

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  36. Thank you, Mainebirder - high praise coming from a bona fide bird photographer such as yourself!

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  37. Sometimes I think those little birds that harass bigger birds like hawks and eagles have a death wish!
    Great photos !

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