Hiking Mercer Meadows Feb 7, 2018

I hit the jackpot on finding hawks today! I saw 4 different raptors, which were a Red Shouldered Hawk, a Red Tailed hawk, a Northern Harrier and a American Kestrel. I saw a Red Shouldered Hawk just a minute after I arrived at the park, which I originally thought was a Cooper’s Hawk. A 2nd Red Shouldered Hawk was actually brought to my attention by a passerby, who showed me a picture on her phone. I ended up stopping the video at that point because I didn’t feel like putting my camera directly in her face. I verified the picture, then I hit the record button once I saw this raptor. Once the passerby left, she walked right underneath the tree where the hawk was and it didn’t even fly away. It flew onto a post that was only 40 feet away from me! I was so surprised how close this raptor got to me! It is the closest any raptor has ever gotten to me to date! It was brilliant seeing it up close and the quality on my camera was superb! After I walked on the trail for 30 minutes, I saw a juvenile Red Tailed Hawk. It was most likely the same hawk I saw on the power pole a while back! I went ahead and took some pictures before I filmed it. Then, it flew over to a post, where I managed to get a closer view of it. It flew away as soon as I walked up the stairs of the observatory. I then saw 2 Northern Harriers flying in the marsh side-by side, so its obvious they were mates. I saw quite some acrobatic displays from them as well. After that, I turned my camera to the other side of the trail and I saw an American Kestrel! Oh my gosh, this day just gets better and better! I was right underneath the tree filming it too!

So far, this was the best hiking day ever! I’ve got over 30 minutes of unedited footage. I kept the camera running even while I was walking to get a better angle. Check it out!

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