The weather was quite variable, with some warm sunny days and some cooler days with lots of clouds and some rain. I hiked four tmes here in Old Trail during this reporting period, and ended up with 33 avian species, including my Old Trail avian species # 162 - Hairy Woodpecker. I saw a shore bird in a nearby retention pond from the front porch of my house, but by the time I got my camera and went for a closer look, it was gone, so I did not include it in my list.
Immature Red-winged Blackbird
Unusual to see an Eastern Bluebird at a seed feeder
Carolina Chickadee with a tasty morsel
Red-shouldered Hawk - this juvenile has finer breast streaking than the juvenile I usually see here
Downy Woodpecker - missing undertail bars?
For most of my life, I have had two or more hobbies at the same time that I was passionate about, and always enjoyed the times when I could combine those hobbies in a single event/action. For example, in the 1980s and 1990s, it was astronomy/astrophotography and ancient/medieval numismatics, and in 2008, McFarland published my book Astronomical Symbols on Ancient and Medieval Coins.
I stopped doing astrophotgraphy in 1997 when I moved to Virginia, but continued my numismatics and archaeology hobbies. I started my wildlife photography hobby at the end of 2006, and sold my entire coin collection in 2012, ending my numismatic interests. From 2012 through 2020, I was so involved with wildlife photography that I had little time for any other hobbies, but renewed my astrophography hobby in 2020. I could take wildlife photos during the day, and astrophotos at night.
On February 26, I had a chance to combine these two hobbies. Our three, resident Red-shouldered Hawks were soaring at the southeast corner of Old Trail early in the afternoon.
I noticed that the hawks were soaring in the sky near the rising moon, and I kept trying to get a shot of at least one of the hawks with the moon in the background, but was unsuccessful. After the hawks flew out of sight, I lamented the fact that I forgot I was using a zoom lens, and could have shortened the focal length, thereby increasing the field of view and perhaps getting a hawk and the moon in the same shot. I looked up again at the moon, and got a "Gas Hawk!"
"Gas Hawk" and Moon
It's really rare to get a shot like this. One has to be in the right place at the right time, have a camera ready, and use the correct camera settings. Perhaps getting this shot was almost some sort of payback for me. In August 1989, I was photographing a total lunar eclipse with my film camera attached to a Celestron-8 telescope. One of the neighborhood kids asked if he could look at the eclipse through my telescope. Since totality was for 45 minutes, I knew that I had plenty of time to disconnect the camera, attach and refocus an eyepiece, and then re-attach and refocus the camera. While he was looking at the totally eclipsed moon through the telescope, my heart sank. I saw an airplane going straight up towards the eclipsed moon. And it was about the same 1/2 degree apparent size as the moon, both nose to tail of the plane, and red light wingtip to green light wingtip. I knew the shot that I would miss as there wasn't time to do anything but watch it. For a moment, the plane was directly over the totally eclipsed moon. The nose and the tail of the plane were from upper to lower edge of the moon, and the wing tips were from left to right edge of the moon. Now that would have been a "money" shot!
By the way, for those of you who missed this week's astronomy highlight. Jupiter and Venus were only 1/2 degree apart in the early evening on March 1st. Here's what it looked like, both an iPhone shot from my back patio, and a 1300mm telephoto image showing Jupiter with three of its moons, and Venus.
Jupiter and Venus
Old Trail four day bird list: