red-tailed hawk, cutting garden, entomology

10.1.21 ~ Harkness Memorial State Park

A new bird for me! When we got to Harkness Memorial State Park on Friday morning my eyes went immediately to the top of the water tower, where I had seen the black vulture at the end of July. There were lots of small birds making a racket and then, as if on cue, this red-tailed hawk flew in for a landing. His approach must have been what was causing such a stir with the little birds.


Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis: Uncommon to locally common breeder, and common migrant and winter resident throughout Connecticut. A perch-hunting generalist found in many wooded habitats often adjacent to open fields; also hunts by roadsides.
~ Frank Gallo
(Birding in Connecticut)

After taking a zillion blurry pictures of the hawk, the cutting garden, what we really came to see, beckoned to us…

But as we stepped into it I just had to look over my shoulder, then turn around and capture the hawk from a different angle and distance.

And then I could start paying attention to all the early autumn treasures in the cutting garden.

bee buddies?
fading fast
wonder what kind of moth or fly this is?
ready to bloom
another ready to bloom
soft summer colors in the fall
(porcelain berry)

But the best part of the day was getting back into the car and checking our cell phones to find an email from our daughter in North Carolina. Kat’s second grade teacher sent her this picture with the text message: “Kat was my brave friend today and got our friend away from us at lunch!” Larisa responded to her saying, “Lol, she loves bugs, just like her great, great grandmother who was an amateur entomologist.”

My grandmother lives on in my granddaughter! ♡ It also makes me so happy that my daughter is passing on the family stories. ♡ And I do wonder what kind of bug that is…

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
(Present Moment Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living)

32 thoughts on “red-tailed hawk, cutting garden, entomology”

  1. Wonderful photos of the red-tailed hawk and so nice to add a new life bird!

    The cutting garden is gorgeous and, as usual your photographs do it justice, both the flowers and their colors and the inhabitants. I’m especially happy to see the monarchs!

    But best of all is the photo of your granddaughter Kat taken by her second-grade teacher and the fact that she likes bugs and thus takes after her great-great grandmother. And what big, lovely eyes Kat has!

    I love Thich Nhat Hanh. What an apt quote!

    1. Thank you so much, Timi!

      I’ve been seeing monarchs around here since July and have been wondering how long it takes for all of them to pass through here on their way to Mexico. Maybe the ones I’m seeing now were farther north to start with.

      I was very excited about the red-tailed hawk. At first I thought it was an osprey — lol. That Joy of Birding course we took taught me to be more careful and get some help with identifications! We’ve located some more potential birding spots so I hope to add more to my list some day.

      I’ve been waiting a long time for a chance to use that Thich Nhat Hanh quote! I do adore that sweet little bug-loving granddaughter of mine, definitely the apple of my eye! And I know my grandmother must be pleased as punch. 🙂

    1. It was a little disconcerting when the hawk started staring at me, like he was in the second picture. Interesting how some birds are more common in some areas than others. I’m so glad you enjoyed seeing our lovely fall flowers.

    1. Thank you, Donna! Oh, I do love foggy mornings and feel lucky when a hear a foghorn in the distance. But it’s good to have brightly colored flowers and butterflies in our lives, too. 🙂

  2. Oh how wonderful is that? So happy to hear that your granddaughter is a living extension of her grandma with her love for insects. (And perhaps for all sorts of nature such as beautiful red tail hawks and beautiful flowers?)

    1. Grandmother’s garden was filled with glass aquariums containing caterpillars and chrysalises on twigs she would find in the woods. She photographed them at all stages of their life cycles. But she took other pictures of nature, too.

  3. what a touching story, Barbara – I teared up at the look at that little happy girl/ grandmother -I so believe that we bring the ancestor line forward
    And those hawk-images! I marvel at the rich wildlife at your place of the world – it certainly does not look like October! Here is quite yellow and NONE such flowers whatsoever.
    And did you read this book, Barbara: H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald – you will never forget it I think

    1. It is very moving when our ancestors appear so vividly in our descendants! I suspect this wildlife has always been around here but it seems I never paid enough attention to my surroundings until I got older and less preoccupied with childcare and eldercare responsibilities. Our autumn peak colors for leaves doesn’t get here until the end of October and beginning of November. We’re farther south in latitude than you are! Turns out the book you mentioned is free on Audible so I put it in my library. Thank you — hope to listen to it soon.

  4. Beautiful garden shots. The Red Tail looks as if it were posing for you.

    I haven’t seen one in awhile, there are usually several that fly about along the lake and sit a top our building at times…

    What sweet generational experience. To see and know that the family stories and interest are being past on.

    1. Thank you, Jeff! I’m not a big fan of oranges and yellows but nevertheless I found them beautiful in this setting. That must have been wonderful getting to see the red-tailed hawks so often. It was frustrating having it so high up — I wish it could be closer so I could focus the camera better.

  5. That hawk definitely had its eyes on you, Barbara!!

    I’m guessing an Autumn Juniper Moth?

    And also guessing, a type of “Katydids” grasshopper which are great leaf mimics.

    Heard on TV this morning that the Monarchs will be migrating through our area on their way to Mexico. We haven’t seen many yet.

    Wondering about the name of the gardens. Are people allowed to cut some flowers to take with them?

    Beautiful quote with this post! Although I see my mother on the top side of my hands and feet; I see my grandmother in my midsection; I see my great grandmother in my eyes and my childlike mental health grabbing the soft mint candies that would fit in her/my palm of our hands.

    Beautiful thoughts today!

    1. Yes, the hawk’s eyes definitely were sending me the “I see you there” message!

      Thank you for identifying the katydid! I hear them at night at the end of summer but was never sure of the difference between them and grasshoppers and crickets. It seems like the monarchs are lingering here for a bit. Maybe after our flowers die at first frost they will move on. Climate change is certainly changing things… Maybe you’ll start seeing them soon.

      No, the public is not allowed to cut the flowers. They supply the mansion on the property with cut flowers for weddings and other events.

      Love your thoughts about your mother’s hands. I have my mother’s hands, too. I loved watching them while riding in the back seat of the car when I was a child. She would massage my father’s neck while he was driving on long trips. I found it mesmerizing.

  6. Aren’t dahlias stunning? They add so much to the autumn garden. Your little butterfly is a skipper, one of the late ones as most have already laid their eggs and passed away. Love that your granddaughter is a katydid whisperer 🙂 – esp. sweet that her genes are in line with your grandmother. Love the TNH quote – I’ve thought the same many times over the years.
    Seeing your hawk made me think of an outing we took on Friday to Skinner State Park in S.Hadley, MA. It is famous for its thermals that migrating hawks favor during migration. What a thrill to see buteos, accipiters and falcons soaring right over our heads. Definitely a place we will visit again.

    1. Yes, yes, a skipper! I see the antenna and eye now. I agree with you, Eliza:)

      I enjoyed your quiz today, Barbara!!

    2. I was wondering if those were dahlias! Yes, they were very stunning and begging for close-ups. 🙂 Thank you for identifying them and the katydid and the skipper! I love the idea of Kat being a katydid whisperer. I used to call her Katie when she was a baby and toddler but then she started prefering her whole name, Katherine, and now she goes by Kat.

      That sounds like an amazing day at your state park! You must have a good eye to be able to tell the difference between buteos, accipiters and falcons while they’re flying. I’m embarrassed to admit I thought this hawk was an osprey at first. But those markings on his chest gave me pause. I admire people who can identify birds in flight.

        1. I hope I get a chance to listen to this soon, Eliza. (Started listening and got interrupted…) It looks good so far — thanks for the link!

        2. Finally enjoyed listening to this — what a wealth of information. It made me even more determined to take one of our nearby 2-hour winter eagle cruises on the Connecticut River. Hawks are on the list of possible sightings. Thank you for sharing this, Eliza!

  7. Wow – what a great day you had Barbara, from the hawk to the cutting garden to your e-mail message about Kat’s bravery and the bug (an oversized grasshopper??) I know you felt that same thrill with the Red-Tailed Hawk that I did, first at Dingell Park when he was watching me, then on the fence where he was perched, the squirrels’ nemesis. Great pictures of the hawk and so many great photos of the beautiful flowers, all in a natural setting. I did not get to Lake Erie Metropark another time for their trail which is full of wildflowers this year – incessant rain and mosquitoes made me cancel my plans several times. Not only beautiful blooms, but you got bees (it’s your year for blooms and bees) and that beautiful Monarch who picked vibrant-colored flowers and the cute little Skipper. This is an excursion which memories you will cherish when the excessive cold, snow and ice have you housebound in a few months.

    1. Two readers identified the bug as a katydid. 🙂 Thank you for identifying the skipper. You were lucky you got a lot closer to your hawk than I did! Fortunately I didn’t have to watch him do any hunting. Haven’t those mosquitoes been terrible this year? I bundled up one day and still got a bite on my cheek. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but the silver lining to that drought last year was the lack of mosquitoes! It made for very pleasant walks in the woods. I don’t blame you for cancelling your plans so often. For some reason we don’t get them near the salt water and so this garden was mosquito-free. Probably why we keep going back there. So ironic that we need a freeze to get rid of those pests, but let’s hope we can enjoy a few weeks of warm weather after the freeze!

      1. We may not get a hard freeze until the last week in October they said. We are having rain again this weekend, Saturday morning, but rain two days before that (thankfully afternoons). This has been the weather pattern all Summer. That’s great that the garden was pest free. The Botanical Gardens has a bugaboo about using a camera while there unless it is a compact camera or phone camera. That’s a new edict and unfortunate. They’ve always made you have a permit if you were taking portrait photos, but someone must have done something foolish that caused the new rules and regs. I hope we have a warm Fall – we deserve it!

        1. Interesting. I’ve never heard of gardens banning hand-held cameras. I can understand banning tripods and drones and flashes and professional photoshoots. Here’s to a warm, comfy and colorful fall!

          1. When I take the DLSR I always took some cards I had made up with my blog site on it. That way if I’m stopped, I say it is amateur photography. One time I got in, as she pulled the blog site up on her phone, but then another time, she pointed out the stricter rules and regs and said “sorry” … so, now I take the small digital camera as a backup so I’m not “bare”. Yes I’m all in for Fall – we had 71 today.

          2. I guess I would resort to using my cell phone camera if I was stopped. I’ve used it in a pinch when I forgot to bring an extra battery for my DLSR. That’s a good idea making those cards. Have you given them to people you encounter who ask questions about your blog picture-taking?

  8. I love that quote! There’s something almost mystical about the continuity of families, isn’t there? How wonderful to know our ancestors live on in us … as we will, some day, in our family members to come. Gorgeous hawk — love his inquisitive expression! And I never get enough viewings of Monarch Butterflies.

    1. Definitely something mystical about it. I think about it more and more as I get older, the things that come down through the generations, what little tidbit of wisdom I might pass on that came from who knows how many generations ago? And the birds and butterflies, too, are passing on their own ancient wisdom.

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