By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator
A juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk grasps a Garter Snake by the head as it launches into flight. Image by Derek Stoner, May 16, 2011.
Being in the right place at the right time is often the “secret” behind an interesting photograph. Last Monday a classic right time-right place moment happened to me at Ashland Nature Center.
A Red-shouldered Hawk (a juvenile that is being seen hanging out near the nature center and lodge) flew across the lodge driveway as I drove by, clutching a snake in its beak.
As I grabbed the camera, the hawk flew back towards me. I snapped a photo out the window right as the hawk launched off the branch. The foot-long Garter Snake was devoured in two gulps when the hawk landed again. Just another snake snack for this hungry hawk that other observers have seen capturing the same prey item in the same location. Catching this behavior on camera is the hard part!
The juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk perches after devouring the Garter Snake. Image by Derek Stoner, May 16, 2011.
By Joe Sebastiani, Seasonal Program Team Leader
This Red-shouldered Hawk was found in Wilmington eating something from Wawa that was spicy, toasted, and had Swiss cheese. Photo by Jill Constantine.
I am a big fan of Wawa. My car tends to automatically veer towards these fine convenience stores. Free ATM, good coffee, fast service…how can you beat that? Until this week, I didn’t know hawks were also Wawa devotees. I’ve seen gulls, crows, starlings, grackles, and House Sparrows eating Wawa products, but not a hawk. That is why I was amused to see this fine portrait of a handsome Red-shouldered Hawk feasting a fast-food sandwich. It is a good reminder not to throw food out on the roadside…animals get hit by cars coming to eat refuse.
Jill Constantine, a regular reader of The Nature of Delaware, has seen this bird hanging out in Brookmeade II neighborhood in Wilmington for the last few weeks. On February 22, she came across the hawk feasting on a Wawa product and was able to snap this photograph. According to Jill, the bird was reluctant to fly from its meal, which enabled her to get close. Eventually the bird took off and it took the sandwich with it.
I would like to invite you, the reader, to share your wildlife photos and nature stories with us. If you photograph a rare animal, an animal doing something interesting, or something else that captures an experience with the natural world that is noteworthy, please send it our way. If you’ve witnessed something in nature and would like to share your experience but didn’t take a photo, tell us your story. We would like to publish your photos and short stories fairly regularly. The rules are that it should be from Delaware, and the photo needs to be relatively good.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like your photo or tale from nature published in The Nature of Delaware.