Nature clicks #86 - Red-tailed Hawk in flight

Red-tailed Hawk in flight
Nikon D300s, Sigma 50-500mm / f4.5-6.3 APO DG HSM

A long wanted shot made it finally onto my hard drive last weekend. This Red-tailed Hawk hovered over a snow covered slope in the Mill Creek Valley near Bellevue, Iowa. I stopped the car and started handhold panning while standing in a puddle of a muddy gravel road. I didn't really care, the hawk was more important than the condition of my boots at that moment. The hawk scanned the slope almost systematically for prey and came several times back to my location. Not as close as I would have liked to, but at least it presented its body for a brief moment in best light. I will not keep it as a secret that the photo is cropped but it is sharp enough and retained some detail after the crop. I believe it payed back that I have practiced a lot during last month on the Bald Eagles. I was happy to make my first picture of a sitting hawk two weeks ago and now I'm glad to have a few images of a Red-tailed Hawk in flight.