Snakes on a plain

I’ll be honest, photo-wise, not all trips are worthwhile. Changing weather, poor light, or just bad choice of locations can leave me with nothing more than some fresh air & exercise, and outings like this are more frequent than you’d guess.

Luckily, every so often a day turns out far more rewarding than I expect and today was like that.

Heading to Colonel Samuel Smith Park on the shore of Lake Ontario, I wasn’t sure what I’d find. Before I even took my camera out of the bag I spotted a Black-crowned Night Heron high up in an evergreen tree. That was a nice way to start.

I moved in to get a better vantage point, and along the way heard rustling on the ground. A little looking and a snake was located, not the first I’d see today.

After getting some nice shots of the heron, I roamed around the park. Blackbirds were everywhere making a lot of noise, as were Geese and Mallards – the usual suspects…

Continuing along the shore of the lake, I spotted a light coloured raptor on top of a tree. As I got closer I could see it appeared to be a Red-tailed hawk. He had attracted the lenses of a few other photographers, so I quietly eased into the area careful not to disturb him or the others watching.

In the next half hour, we all watched with excitement as the hawk made a few attempts to capture a meal on the ground. The hawk was going for snakes, and there were no shortage of them around in the grasslands.

The hawk had a few misses, but soon enough he pounced and caught a small snake in the grass. From there he flew to a nearby tree to enjoy his catch, something I’ve never seen first-hand before.

The whole trip took less than two hours, and so close to home. How nice it is to be able to sneak out for a few hours on a gorgeous day and witness so many elements of nature.

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Photography by Mathew Rossi | 2000 - 2023 All Rights Reserved

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