Wildlife photography is a fantastic means to enjoy nature but, as I have said repeatedly, it requires great patience and some luck. Despite spending many hours out and about looking for local wildlife lately I haven’t been able to take images I call ‘keepers’.

One evening as the light faded and I was driving home – having not taken a single image – I spotted a deer in a corn field. Something about the scene and the fact the deer was so well camouflaged in the low light really appealed to me so I stopped the car and captured this image.

Several visits to the Nith River eagles’ nest have yielded just one sighting of the adults perched in trees. It was good to confirm they haven’t abandoned the nest. The female American kestrel that I spent the month of April photographing went off and produced four young ones in May. I see them hunting in the same fields she frequented but they keep their distance.

This morning, in contrast, I experienced a delightful upturn in wildlife events. From my apartment balcony I spotted a Cooper’s hawk perched on a low hanging tree branch in the woods.

I grabbed my binoculars to confirm it was indeed a hawk. When you spend time outdoors you become accustomed to shapes and movement that seem out of place. This one had flown into the woods probably chasing prey through the wide gap in trees which sometimes offers a view of deer and foxes wandering about. I watched it looking around high and low for a route out and got my camera ready.

After a few minutes I could see the hawk was about to fly and I was ready. It turned to face me and then took off.

Within a couple of seconds it emerged from the wooded area and quickly gained height.  Its eyes focused on me for an instant before it flew overhead and vanished.

I had not expected to have this encounter from my balcony. I find it incredibly ironic that after spending time looking for wildlife and not having much success recently, this took place right at home. Now that’s luck!

And, to all the snowy owl lovers out there …..my feature on snowy owls will appear in the upcoming November/December issue of Canadian Geographic. 







    1. Paul E Gains

      Glad you liked the deer shot, Jim. I have so many images of deer in good light. But this particular one is special. And yes, Cooper’s hawks are amazing to watch as they attack their prey. I am lucky to have so much wildlife right outside my window.

    1. Paul E Gains

      Hey Hamlin! Great to hear from you – thanks for the words of wisdom! For sure, there is a better chance of snapping cool images when you are out in the wild frequently and thereby increase your ‘luck’ by being prepared. In this case I happened to notice this hawk perched on a low branch because it was an irregular shape. I look at this spot every single day because there have been deer, coyotes and foxes crossing a trail there. Today was special. Thanks for staying in touch, Hamlin. Cheers!

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