I've noticed that the character of the refuge is entering a new phase. Spring is firmly here, the tress are filling out with leaves. Around the impoundments the new cat tail growth is starting to approach the height of the old growth. The refuge is transitioning from brown to green. In the middle of the impoundments you can start to see the aquatic plants starting to break the water surface. That motivated me to take a few landscape photographs to capture the changes.
The Marsh Wrens are going crazy, displaying and calling from the tops of the reeds. This makes photographing them much simpler...but still not easy. I was photographing a cooperative Marsh Wren when a birder asked me if I saw the Red Tail hawk near the bench that wasn't bothered by people.
An opportunity to photograph a cooperative Red Tail hawk should never be passed up, so I left the Marsh Wrens for later. As I approached the bench I could see that the hawk was eating something. What an opportunity for an interesting, if perhaps gruesome nature shot. But as I approached closer, I realized that this hawk was tearing apart American Lotus seed pods.
The birder was correct this bird, was not very scared of people and allowed me to get close enough to take some close up portrait type photographs. He flew up and down the dike. As he flew near the parking lot, he started to be mobbed by grackles, blackbirds and a few others. Discretion being the better part of valor, flew back towards the dike.
Unfortunately, while trying to take these photos, my camera started to act up. Sometimes the shutter would open, but not close. Other times, there would be a flaky long exposure in the midst of perfectly exposed shots. On the way home, I stopped by Sanford Camera who diagnosed it as a mirror box problem. It is going to be 3-4 weeks and $300 to repair the problem. Now I am confronted with how I'm going to keep my project going during peak season, without my best camera. Until then, you'll have to enjoy these last couple hawk photos.