I went to a local city park called the Public Gardens, hoping for some pictures of flowers and ducks. This park is a classic Victorian Park, complete with pseudo-grecian statues, patriotic memorials, flower gardens, and some pretty surrealistic trees (and a lot of very stately patriarchs as well). Oh, and there is also Noisy the Goose, celebrating her 24th birthday. Much to my surprise, I observed a large raptor in a tree near the duck pond. Conditions for good photography had deteriorated by the time I saw her, but I walked slowly towards her and tried to make the most of this unusual event.
She let me take a few portraits (she was too far away to get anything useful), but then she saw something in the pond. She took off from her tree and starting to circle, moving quickly then sometimes going into a high hover, making short dives towards the water but then breaking off. I quickly tried to reset the camera to shoot all this action, and finally I got a few shots just before and during two of her three successful stoops. I thought she would dive down, skim the water, then catch the fish in her talons. She actually dove straight into the water with a sloppy dive, then flapped back into the air as quickly as possible. I've never been privileged to see a raptor perform a successful hunt with this close proximity. This was the best moment of my day.
I ascertained from some locals that there is a mating pair with a nest near the park, and they come back every year. I'll keep my eyes open for better shooting conditions, and start learning hw to do action photography; mountains are definitely easier to shoot.
Here are my attempts at shots of a black and white raptor on a bright but cloudy day, shooting upwards (drat it).
a quickr pickr post