Pied harrier - female
Rose Garden rice paddy
With clear sun in the sky I rushed home from school at 4:00 pm with the sole intention of getting round to the rice paddy with hopes of seeing a pied harrier or two. First of all I went to the far side of the paddy where my route was blocked by a mechanical digger and a mound of gravel. I was getting ready to walk on when I thought to myself:"No self respecting raptor is going to hang around this racket, let's get out of here"! So I turned around and went to my usual place and was setting up stall so to speak, taking shots of a pole in the middle of the paddy to get a sense of the light, when my attention was drawn to a brown shape sticking out. Nine times out of ten this usually turns out to be a post or stake or anything but a bird; this time it was this beautiful pied harrier, the female of the species. So I snapped away in the available light and these are my better shots allowing for light and for the fact that the bird didn't perform.It stayed covered up like this and didn't so much as take a bow or a sniff around. A herd of cattle and a noisy motorbike finally scared off the harrier and off she went. Had I been a bit more savvy I would have prepared for her eventual take off. But one can always be wise after the event! I could have set the camera for one side and our girl might have gone in the other direction or straight up! She's a beauty and I hope over the next few months I will get a few more shots of her, her fellow and her youth and any friends that drop by. I have also started to talk to a couple of the farmers who seem very interested and came to tell me they had seen the "hew-ow", Thai for a hawk, and smiled when I showed them the pics.
I am reasonably pleased with the photographs. I was compensating down this afternoon and it seems to be getting me better results. For good measure I add this little egret who was hanging off a palm tree. Note the diagnostic lime green feet.
Rose Garden rice paddy
I hung around until after dark mainly because I had a chat with a couple of the local farmers and was then packing up when an unidentified bird, biggish, flew across the road and disappeared into the darkness of the rice paddy. It made quite a distinct high-pitched screech and another bird returned the same call. My gut reaction was owls. Obviously this is highly speculative but I have some work to do here, maybe learn a few owl calls and see if I can get a better look next time.