Young Raptor at Ryan's
Several photographs of a young (unidentified) raptor on the beach at Ryan's Campsite on the Ottawa River.
2003 August 18
I set out from Point Alexander on the Ottawa River for a morning paddle. As it was somewhat windy, I paddled upstream on the Ontario shore rather than cross over to Quebec as I usually do. When I arrived at the point at Ryan's Campsite — Baird Point according to the map — there was a raptor on the beach. It took at half-hearted run at a small shore bird without success (sure upset the shore bird though). Because of the wind, I wasn't able to both paddle and take pictures. So I paddled upstream and positioned myself so that the wind would blow me onto the point. This would allow me to shoot while the canoe drifted ashore. I didn't get the alignment quite right and I was blown onto the beach on the windward side of the point without getting a good shot. My landing was anything but graceful and on exiting the canoe and trying to keep myself and the camera dry, the raptor flew off.
Since it was time to take a break anyway, I had a snack. While I was standing at the point eating my gorp, the hawk reappeared and circled me at about 30 feet before landing a little down the beach. I tossed some gorp in his direction, but he wasn't interested.
I went back to the canoe, retrieved my camera and started shooting as I slowly approached the bird, hoping to circle around him to get the sun behind me. But he spooked. According to the exif data from my camera, I was at a distance of about 6m.
On the basis of the pronounced eye stripe, I assume the bird was an immature Goshawk but I defer to the experts.
As can be seen in the pictures, his wing feathers were disrupted. He may have been injured and that might explain his somewhat bold behaviour. Clearly, however, he could still fly.