Readers’ wildlife photos

August 2, 2014 • 11:52 pm

Reader Stephen Barnard sends a Northern Harrier and another photo of the rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) I posted yesterday. His notes:

The Northern Harrier (aka Marsh Hawk; Circus cyaneus):

1. Hears or sees the prey, probably a vole. (They hunt by ear a lot
which accounts for their owl-like heads.)
2. Makes a sharp turn with talons out.
3. Makes a mid-course correction.
4. Goes for the kill.

The hummingbird shot is especially fine, I’ll immodestly claim.

Here they are, in order:




RT9A9504 (1)


RT9A9506 (1)



And the hummer:



12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. The Northern Harrier is under threat in the UK, especially in England. We know it as the Hen Harrier and its numbers have been driven remorselessly downward by gamekeepers because of conflict with the Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus, known as Willow Grouse elsewhere) shooting. Hen Harriers do take grouse chicks thereby reducing the shootable surplus available at the end of the reeding season and as grouse shooting is big business this is not tolerated. It is of course illegal to shoot, trap, poison or even disturb Hen Harriers at the nest but all of these things happen – usually with impunity because the remoteness of the areas where this occurs makes it virtually impossible to catch anyone in the act.

    1. That’s a shame. They’re very interesting birds to observe, with a hunting behavior unlike most other hawks I’m familiar with. Here they are common and they put a pretty good dent in the vole population, which is good for the crops.

  2. That is a good hummer shot – you got the beak sharp and stopped the wings! I think I did that once in a head on shot but I shot very fast and the hummer went into shadow so I wasn’t pleased enough with the shot to keep it.

  3. Simply stunning. Thanks as always for your beautiful shots. So happy to have a talented photographer like yourself sharing your prolific work.

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