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Shooting Season

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A wildlife experience from the Hawk's Nest

It’s August and therefore time to get out the equipment to do some shooting. It has been a good summer for the big game. They are well fed and have good color in their coats. The males are developing nice racks, getting ready for the fall mating season. There are lots of babies and many sets of twins running around the woods eating huckleberries, serviceberries, and the dewberries that are just coming on. One doe with twins is running around our place this year. I’m hoping to get a few shots at the newborns while they still have some of their spots.

The wild birds in and above our woods appear to be at their best. The young fledglings are abundant and finding out how much fun their newly discovered wings provide. 

I’m thinking this year I need to get out and shoot some more osprey. The lake is only a few miles away from home and I see them flying over once in a while. I haven’t had an opportunity to get osprey since I shot several young ones in their nest a few years ago. I was on a cliff above a lake in Canada. Below me was a snag 50 or 60 feet tall with a nest at the top. The lake was reflecting the clouds floating overhead. Not big or threatening clouds, just a few cotton puffs to add to the esthetics of the blue green water. 

The young were nearly full grown but not quite fledged and setting on the edge of the nest, wings spread, feeling the wind blowing under them. Every few minutes one of the parents brought in a fresh catch for the adolescents. After eating, the young osprey would back to the side of the nest, their tail hanging over 50 feet or so above the water, and would project far into the air the unnecessary waste of the just devoured meal. I was learning about the spray in Osprey. I took several shots with my high-powered equipment directly into the nest. It was great fun. 

Another fond shooting memory was a few summers ago up on the Bull River. I had been following a couple of good looking bull elk, hoping to get a shot at them, but never could get a good clear one. It was in late July I think. I just couldn’t get them where I needed them. Finally I lost the two perfect trophies without ever taking a shot. 

I took a break at the edge of a clearing to eat. It was a good spot for a meal. The wildflowers were putting on a great show. Oregon grape was in bloom and their yellow flowers were mixed with the purple of some vetch. Wild rose bushes were giving a great display as the sun in the clear blue sky made their colors bright. A small stream flowed into the mountain meadow from the northeast. Something in the middle of the clearing made the stream take a sharp turn and it disappeared into the woods going southeast just a few yards from where it entered.  As I sat there eating a carrot, I looked up, and there was a fawn about the size of a German Shepard standing right in front of me. I looked around for a doe, hoping to get a shot at mother and child. Mom never showed up. The sun was at the back of this baby and it seemed the light was almost able to shine through its ears, which appeared to be a little too big for its head. I dropped my carrot, lifted, and shot this Bambi at least three times. I got a terrific shot. It’s hanging on the wall in my den I love showing it to folks when they stop by.

I like to take the time to watch the Bald Eagles as they get meals out of the lake. Maybe this year I can make my eagle display into a pair that would balance the room better. They are fast though, and it’s hard to get a good shot of them on the wing, but I’ll have fun trying.

Anyway, before I get to shoot anything this season I need to completely go through my Canon and get it cleaned up. I need to polish the lenses, make sure the shutter is reacting fast and get my tripod ready for a quick setup. It looks like there are going to be some terrific shooting opportunities, and I’d hate to miss them because my camera equipment wasn’t in perfect condition.

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

Tagged as:

wildlife, canon, photography, cameras, The Hawks Nest

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