Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Back in the southwest: Short-tailed Hawk & Saguaro

I'm back in the south and enjoying fantastically warm weather. I don't miss the snow and cold of Ontario at all! Today I joined up with some bird photographer friends and we spent the day chasing birds around Tucson. In the afternoon we photographed a very rare species for the southwest.... a Short-tailed Hawk. This particularly interesting individual has tan coloration.

Let me tell you a quick story about my relationship with Short-tailed Hawks. About 15 years when I had just finished university, I took my first big birding/photography road trip from Ontario down to Florida and across to Texas and Arizona. Prior to the departing I had decided that I would get a tattoo of my 500th life bird species, which I would inevitably see during the trip. This occurred in Florida and it was a close call between Red-whiskered Bulbul (an exotic songbird) and Short-tailed Hawk. Thankfully a careful recount confirmed it was the hawk, lest I would be stuck today with a wimpy Bulbul tatooed on my arm.

By the way, I bought a 50D body last week for backup and this is the first photo I've posted with it. Will share more thoughts about this camera soon after I've had a chance to put it thought the paces.

Photo 1: Short-tailed Hawk, Tucson
50D + 500/4IS; handheld; manual exposure

For those of you who are tired of seeing bird photos on this blog, here's a cactusscape that I shot tonight on the way to the campground. I love Saguaros - they're my favorite plant.

Photo 2: Saguaro Cactus, Tucson
EOS 1DsIII; 14-40 lens


  1. Nice "hand held" on the hawk with the 500, enjoy the 50D, great bird photography camera.

  2. Anonymous1:43 PM

    Glad to hear you made it out of Ontario. I'll be interested in your thoughts on the 50D, particularly its ability with BIF and the AI Servo mode.
    Photographed my own STHA in Puerto Vallarta a couple of weeks ago but your's blows that one away. Nice!
    Take care.


  3. Anonymous4:07 PM

    I will be watching for more info on the 50D as I am looking to replace my 40D with a 40D and also replace my 5D with the 5D mark II

    It was -22C here at 6am. your lucky to be in the south.

  4. Anonymous10:26 PM

    Hey Ethan

    Great shot, cool story.

    50D over a 1D3 eh?

  5. Fantstic shot of the hawk. Plus the cactus sort of reminds me of a person (maybe I'm just being weird).

  6. Thanks for all the feedack!
    Craig, the main reasons why I went for a 50D over a 1D3:
    -higher res
    -much cheaper