Northern Harrier in our garden

We had a black cat visiting our house for a while, killing the birds at the feeder.  We haven’t seen it for a couple of months but it has now been replaced by another predator.  I haven’t seen it get a bird yet; they stay away while it is perching.  It is a hawk, a Northern Harrier (sometimes called a Marsh Hawk).  It sits almost motionless on a perch, but the smaller birds are well aware of its presence and stay away until it leaves.

Northern Harrier perched
Northern Harrier perched

I hope it will visit soon when I have the time to set up the camera for some action shots when it is flying.  I just have a few so far but as I was working I didn’t have time to do anything but shoot on automatic, so most moving shots were blurred, the light being too dim for the camera to decide on short exposures.  Here are the few that almost worked:

Harrier takes off from perch


Harrier in full flight

It does an amazing job of flying through dense bushes, in pursuit of juncos and chickadees, but they are too fast for it.

On a different topic:

We had a heavy mist a couple of weeks ago, when the temperature was just below zero, so it left a coating of frost on everything. Here is a picture of our road, once the mist had lifted enough for a picture:

Frost and mist on rolling hills near Pontypool


Author: Eric Lawton

Eric is a natural philosopher living in rural Ontario

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