Every now and then you have one of those experiences where you are in the right place at the right time. The only negative I can say is that it was in a shaded area and as luck would have it, shooting into the sun. I would not dare however risk getting in a better position for fear the hawk would fly.
Late this afternoon I was getting the camera out of the car, having been disappointed by an extremely slow morning when out of nowhere, the hawk flies in. This hawk showed up last year and has been a regular however I have never been able to get any good shots of it.
It was focused on some birds in the rose bush and Lantana plant so I was able to ease up close to the fence without being noticed. I sat down on the ground and at one point, during the chase the bird was within six feet of me. My heart was beating and hands shaking with excitement. Thank heavens for image stabilization particularly since I was having to use a high ISO and still could not get much shutter speed.
I have debated on whether this is a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk and studied descriptions of both. Based mostly on the small size (it is a very slender bird) and a higher pitch call, I am leaning towards Sharp-shinned however the rounded tail as shown in this photo makes me think Cooper's.. Any positive ID's would be most appreciated.