For the past few weeks I have tried very hard to get at least one really good shot of the Hen Harriers, also called the Northern Harrier, that are here on the farm for the winter. The Hen Harrier is a beautiful hawk with an owl like face and long beautiful tail feathers. They migrate down to the southern states during the winter months. The Hen Harrier gets its name for it’s habit of preying on free-ranging fowl. The Hen Harrier -Wikipedia
I had noticed recently some male Mallard ducks on one of the ponds so I decided to go try to capture some beautiful duck photos. It was a cold rainy Sunday and my tent blind had a few holes and was leaking and the wind was going straight through the tent door
I had been there about an hour and I was very pleased at the photos that I was getting of the ducks. There were five big male Mallards and a few females along with some black ducks.
I turned back and was trying to shut the hole where the door was in the tent because of the wind and rain coming in the back when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.
It was a Hen Harrier setting on a stump by some old wire that had been put in a sink hole behind the pond bank. The hawk was just setting there listening at what was down in and under the junk in the hole. He would turn his head from side to side, up and down, as if he was listening and looking and trying locate his prey.
The Hen Harrier hunts it’s prey by listening as it flies low over fields in search of rabbits, mice, rats and small birds.
The Harrier was quite a subject to photograph. This beautiful hawk is rare in this area and to get to photograph of one is such a treat.
I watched and photographed the Hawk for about thirty minutes hoping that what ever was in the hole would come out and I would get some great shots of the bird pouncing on it’s prey.
All of a sudden out of no where there came another Hen Harrier! I just happened to have my camera up and ready. I started snapping pictures as the other Harrier came from across the field and straight toward the Harrier on the stump. He seen the other Harrier coming straight for him and he waited for the attack!
The other Hen Harrier Hawk hit the Hawk on the stump as if trying to knock him off the stump but failed to do so. He raised his wings ready for battle.
The second Hen Harrier made a wide circle around the Hen Harrier on the stump after hitting him and then flew off.
Very patient and not giving up on it’s prey, the hawk remained on the stump for another thirty minutes and let me take many photos. I just couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to get that kind of action after waiting so long.
The Hen Harrier is known as a sky dancer for it’s aerial display as it searches for it’s prey.
To watch the Hen Harrier sky dancing for it’s Prey. click the link. They are currently the most endangered breeding bird of prey in England.
Check back soon for a second post on the Hen Harrier.