It was one of those days. I was late getting out the door this morning, barely made it to the Amherst Island Ferry on time, nearly got my car stuck in a rut on the side of the road, got lost in Owl Woods, and would still be there if not for having marked my parking spot on my GPS. I also ran out of gas on my way back to Toronto, after a brief side trip to see if I could find the Western Tanager that was in an Oshawa Park. Didn't.
I did have a brief look at a Barred Owl in Owl Woods, but spent the better part of three hours driving the roads in search of one of four Rough-legged Hawks that had been seen on the island in the last week. Finally, with half an hour before I needed to get to the ferry docks, I found a hawk in a tree out in a field. I had time to check it out with my binoculars and establish it was one of the Rough-legged Hawks, and then went to grab one of the cameras I brought with me to record the momentous event.
The first one I grabbed, our Canon with the 35x zoom lens that would have taken a good photo at that distance, had a dead battery. My Sony zoom lens wasn't long enough to get any kind of photo at that distance, and the sun was almost exactly behind the bird anyway. Plan C: I grabbed my scope, and would get a digiscope shot with my iPhone. Alas, before I even had the tripod set up the bird flew.
So, all in all, it was a rough day. But in a good way. I'll trade being lost in the woods and running out of gas for a Rough-legged Hawk any day of the year. Especially when the days of the year are running down to a precious few. 591 birds down, 9 to go for 600 with only 9 days remaining in the year. At this point 600 would be gravy. With family get-togethers over the next two days, I will have to run full steam afterwards, until the sun sets on New Year's Eve.