Ah summer, the sunny days are here... so is smog, humidity, insects and lots of foliage. Personally for me, summer is not my favorite season as you can figure by my previous sentence. I don't enjoy stepping outside and feeling a need to shower after ten minutes. And with all the leaves grown in, it sure makes things difficult to "bird" or find any other sort of wildlife.
But I still make the effort to get out. I try to ignore the mosquitoes sucking the blood from my body, the bites of certain fly species and ants crawling across my exposed toes.
Knowing my favorite stomping grounds rather well, taking observations in through the Spring before the growth, often I can still find something "wild" out there when I go out. An open ear sure helps also.
The local park has had me find up to 5 Raccoons in the trees in one morning. Lately I am lucky to find one or two. This is a new spot for one in the woods... or I've just never noticed him before. Ducking down on the path, I could just see him staring back at me.
And knowing of a Red-tailed Hawk nest helped me locate this juvi RTH. The nest has been swallowed up by the forest now. I heard a lot of screeching in the woods between the siblings and an adult; and it took some time to see one further along the path from the unseen nest.
A Coopers Hawk nest was another hard find. Once again, I knew where it was from sightings last Spring. And a friend of mine had seen the young only days earlier. They appeared getting near that time to fledge as well. So I made certain I got out to the area sooner than later in hopes of a peek. I had a pretty good idea where the nest was but once again, with all the leaves grown in, and despite some further directions from my friend, it still wasn't easy. An adult on an old tree stump sure helped.
Even after I found the tree by the "white wash" markings (Hawk s**t) on the trunk, it was no easy task to find an open spot to view the young raptors. I did find an opening and saw one chick briefly before it settled down low in the nest. And then I waited, and I waited, and I waited just a bit more. Nothing was happening, it was near time to get myself over to work. So I started to head back to the truck, constantly looking along the west of the path for any other openings to the nest. And just before I was to leave this path and head to the one to the parking lot, I caught a glimpse through some of the leaves. There was a young Hawk sitting upright in the nest. From the other angle, he was behind the tree. I positioned myself with the camera, allowing ten minutes max before having to go, and I took a few photos and watched. The Hawk watched me and everything else around him that caught his attention. And not long after, an adult flew in quick, did a drop of something meaty into the nest and this little guy turned his back on me to feast. But another Hawk now rose from the nest, and I could see a third as well joining the first at the fresh kill. The second Hawk I got a great view of seems to be younger than the first, even by a couple days perhaps, but you can see the difference in the age/growth.
Here is the first young Coopers Hawk.
And here is the second.
Summer has only begun, we aren't even in July yet; but already I long for the cooler days months away. But I am making the best of it.