|A Swainson's Hawk posing for me in the southeastern AZ desert, Hwy 80, Cochise County; 4/11/2012|
I slowed down, made a Y-turn and reversed course. I was in luck, it was still perched in the same spot, looking all regal and all that. I slowed down to a crawl (checking my mirrors to make sure I wasn't holding up traffic) and slowly crept toward a good spot to pull over - close enough to get a photo with my Sigma 500mm, but not too close to become threatening. I got out of the car and immediately took some photos using my car as a blind (I am sure I fooled that old raptor into thinking my bright white Nissan Sentra rent-a-car was a natural piece of desert scenery). I went into my be cautious, but slowly get closer strategy. That is - I take a few steps closer, stop take a couple more snaps, move couple more steps closer and take a few more pics. I continue doing this until the bird appears to be alarmed or it flies off.
|The same majestic Swainson's Hawk; Hwy 80, AZ; 4/11/2012.|
"Hey, Mr. Swainson, what a beautiful morning isn't it?" Still no move. "How about it if you spread your wings so I can get a nice photo of your wingspan?" He just looked at me as an insignificant object in his way of searching for a meal. I was obviously a bit too big for him to take me down and devour, so I was not of interest. "C'mon, Mr. Swainson, why don't you make a nice lazy circle in the sky so I can get a nice pic of you flying?" ... No movement. .. "Please?" ... nothing.
After about 5-10 minutes of waiting for him to fly, he never made a move. Then I thought, if I make a sudden move perhaps it will take flight. So I made a great effort to lower my camera, adjust my backpack walk a few steps back and forth ....... nada (remember I was close to the Mexico border). He was not going to fly for me. I respected that, resigned myself from a Bird-in-Flight pic, and started to walk back to my desert camouflaged bright white car, with my camera ready. He stood still. As I reached the car, I opened the car door noisily... He sat there.... I bent over to set my camera on the seat next to the driver's seat and hopped in. Before I could even close the door, I saw him fly right past me and I swear he even looked at me (and maybe winked) as he flew by. By the time I could reach for my camera to try to get a bead on him, he was already too far off. At first I was miffed that I missed my BIF chance, but I realized I had a nice lengthy peaceful, encounter with this beautiful raptor without any interference from anyone else on a rather main highway. I thanked Mr. Swainson for the nice poses and cheerfully continued my journey to the Chiricahuas.