I confess that I am not fond of Blue Jays. Their loud raucous calls jolt me out of a peaceful reverie at times and they harass other birds to no end. There are times however, when I find I appreciate their upsetting the quiet of the garden and listen with interest, when a group call out incessantly. I usually fetch my camera and head to the doors or windows if inside, to see what the fuss is all about. It is usually an upset over the presence of a Buteo of one kind or another, as it was a couple of days ago here in the Rock Maple aside the farmhouse. I am lucky to see and get a few portraits of this beautiful Northern Harrier or Marsh Hawk, as it tries to rest in the large tree. The Blue Jays are darting about and the poor female is clearly bothered and finally just flies off.
I am struck how differently she seems to behave from other resident hawks that have migrated south already. It turns out that the Marsh Hawk is part of a class of raptors recognized as Harriers and they hunt by flying low to the ground with their wings in a rather V form... seeking and surprising their prey... unlike other raptors who choose lofty perches with open vistas to survey an area for food. This female has been here for a few days now and will be flying towards Virginia and Mexico very soon ... if not already.
My neighbor's beautifully patterned kitty has gone missing... she left her five kittens for a quick hunt outdoors and never returned. I fear the huntress was hunted by one with a keener eye and ear. Perhaps now Lola flies within the spirit of this marvel of a Buteo of a similar mottled form. Oddly and tragically Lola had the same fate as her babies... as her mother too was lost, when she was but a kitten. Her kittens are safe in the tender care of their surrogate mother, who makes kitty formula and allows the little balls of fur to sleep with her.