Hubby was the one who had first heard the heavy rustling beneath the holly tree down by the dock. He had gone to check ropes and cages and what not. He was brave enough to cross the frozen marsh grass and see what was going on. I was a little afraid.
There in the shelter of the grass against the river bank, and just hidden by the marsh grasses and part of the holly tree, a large and regal hawk had managed to pull in a goose for his dinner. We are guessing that the goose had been maimed by a hunter. We hear shots routinely from the fallow corn field down the river. The hawk was pulling hard with his claws trying to drag the remains of this heavy bounty over the hills of marsh grasses and closer against the bank of the river away from the quick eyes of other predators.
While he did not seem to mind our visit, he was cautious and made it clear by the spread of his wings, this dinner was his and his alone and he would defend that if I looked too hungry. His wings also hid the snow white of the goose breast that had been exposed. He would dip his head and pull hard at the breast and come up with a mouthful of feathers. Soon the feathers were tipped in red and he began the real meal starting with the sweet organs.
More than several hours later when I returned to the river for more photos he had reduced much of the goose to down and white feathers that were beginning to drift everywhere across the marsh as evidence of his good winter meal. His mouth was touched in red as were bits of flesh that had landed on his wings. He had really been enjoying himself. Later in the evening he rested in a nearby tree above the river and was able to digest the meal as the cold weather kept tomorrow's breakfast nice and chilled below him. These were taken with a telephoto, so I did not get as close as it looks. Be sure to click on the photos so that you can also enjoy the meal.
When I returned several days later I found the entire carcass had been spirited away, perhaps by the gray fox we saw the other day. All that was left was the downy evidence shown above.