While driving the auto tour road through dense fog at the Ridgefield NWR on Jan. 6, 2015, I spotted a bird on the left edge of the road in front of me. I could not ID the bird at first due to the fog but I was pretty sure it was a raptor–and most likely a Red-tailed Hawk. I swung the truck into a position to shoot from the right side of the road and checked with binoculars–to my surprise it was a Peregrine Falcon. I grabbed the camera and had to set ISO fairly high at 3200, then took some images. I got about a hundred shots realizing that most of them would be deletions as I struggled to attain good focus through all the fog.
About then a fellow in a white utility vehicle drove by me–between me and the bird–without even slowing down, flushing the bird. I love when folks are courteous like that (not). Grrrr! I’m sure he didn’t even see the bird but it was completely obvious I was photographing something. Couldn’t he have stopped and given me 30 seconds to finish up? Wasn’t he curious about what I was shooting? Did he come to the refuge just to flush birds? He passed me several other times that day, windows up, driving at nearly 15 mph (refuge speed limit). Why?
Peregrine Falcons are seen at the refuge occasionally but I’ve never seen one standing on the road just looking around. I first thought that it was on the ground because it had just consumed a meal but there was no evidence of that. Note: It was a lot foggier than the picture shows and there was a fair amount of image noise to contend with–Photoshop/Lightroom to the rescue!
Canon 7D Mark II, 1/640, f4, ISO 3200, 500mm, 8:41 a.m.