Ridgefield NWR, Feb. 7, 2018, driving the auto tour route just passing post #6. Off to the right was this huge brown bird about 5 feet off the ground perched on a sticker bush. I stopped the truck, opened the passenger window and, amazingly, the bird stayed there. It appeared so big from my close vantage point that I initially almost mistook it for a young eagle. Its coloring was nearly all brown with no indication of any breast band associated with most Red-tail Hawks. Once I began taking photographs it became obvious that its bill was not an eagle’s bill, but that of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk. For 2 minutes I took shots out the window as it was primarily looking around at the ground, just occasionally glancing up at me. I’m surprised I wasn’t too close to focus with my 11 foot minimum focusing lens. This image is full frame with a little trimmed off the sides only. I’m not sure what the white matter is between and on the lower mandible and its beak. I saw this bird again a couple more times during the day. Fun times!
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 500, 500mm, 9:56 a.m.