It came down from the tree!

20th August 2012: The weather on the marsh was hot, humid, and still. In Hoo Wood it wasn’t as bad; being higher up, there was a slight breeze: it felt cooler. Before marshing, I took Spike for his morning constitutional through the wood. These walks are usually uneventful, but this morning I was in for a bit of a shock. We walked down a steep track that took us close to Wilden Lane. I’m always nervous and extra attentive here, because I don’t want spike straying onto the road. My usual solution is to fix his attention on me by keeping him busy.

We were moving slowly along the bottom of the track when movement in the undergrowth distracted me. I whistled for Spike, with my arm held out straight. I was pointing for him to work the area of undergrowth. Within seconds, a big hawk flew down from a nearby tree with menacing yellow talons outstretched, looking for all the world as though its intention was to perch on my arm. I waved frantically, and the raptor veered off to perch on a tree branch. The bird was half as big again as our local buzzards, and an absolute beauty. I stood stock still as it watched me. It began performing an exaggerated preening routine as I slowly removed my binoculars from my shirt pocket. The hawk’s head jerked forward a few times as I did so, as though it might launch itself at me again. It was wearing leather anklets with brass eyelets, but no tethers: an obvious escapee!

This was a Harris Hawk, and I had no intention of battling with it. I took spike home, grabbed my camera with the 500 mm lens fitted, and went back into the wood to get a photograph. I didn’t get the image: the hawk had flown whilst I was away. I spoke to John, who lives on the edge of this part of the wood, he said it had been in the area for a couple of weeks.

It would have been a cracking image. The hawk posed for me. 😦


Before you start posting: this image is not a macro; I used my 500mm lens. 🙂

15 Comments on “It came down from the tree!

  1. A falconry bird perhaps? Just as well that it didn’t have jesses on its legs since they probably would have gotten the bird tangled up in brush.


    • The hawk reacted to my outstretched arm, and my whistling for Spike, Melissa. It was doing what it was trained to do. I didn’t want a talon punctured forearm, so I did what I had thought to be most appropriate in the circumstances. Thankfully, I didn’t resort to putting my head between my legs. 😉


  2. Such an experience. However it turned out well, I always wondered how butterflies and other insects would look through a 500mm.


  3. The lens is a 150 to 500 mm Sigma, Felix. I’ve used the lens continuously for a few years now, and I’m still pleased with its performance: good value, I think.


  4. Great story.
    (I looked at that Sigma lens in the camera shop for the third time yesterday. So it takes a good close-up as well as distant shots – very interesting).


  5. Now we know why they say you should always have your camera with you.
    I sometime’s use the Tamron 500 with the x2 extender but it can be heavy although i have not used it for close up yet-But according to your butterfly quality i think i may give it a try-Thank you.


      • So would i and i intend to try over the next couple of day’s depending on the weather and finding something to catch.
        It is a good lens but has only been used for distance.
        will let you know as soon as.


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