There was a battle raging over the skies of the Missouri river. A dogfight in the skies. Two masters of the air twisting and turning to see who could edge out an advantage to become the victor !
The Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge is 11 units stretched accross the State of Missouri. What makes them unique is that they feature North America's longest river the Missouri. Managed in different ways by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and named after the long used nickname of the river," The Big Muddy."
On a gorgeous summer day my favorite South African and American in training traveled to the Overton North unit of the Big Muddy NWR to see what we could be thrilled by.
Walking along a levee, a couple of stone throws from the river we were enjoying the heat of the summer and happy with the breezes and low relative humidity Missouri and its' rivers are infamously not known to produce. Great flying weather !
This is when it happened ! While I was looking in the opposite direction, the future American let out an excited "Oh ! Oh!" and pointed skyward.
Flying from the direction of the river, two seasoned, hardcore veterans of the the air, a mature Red-Tailed Hawk clutching something in its' talons being sharply pursued by a mature Bald Eagle located just off the Hawks' 4 o'clock.
The Hawk banked hard to the left with the pursing Eagle matching its maneuver. The Hawk released its' grip and a single bird, a prize of the hawks hunting, dropped into the sky. As fast as it was dropped the Eagle grabbed it in the free fall.
The Hawk not taking kindly to being so tested, became the pursuer. Staying off to the Eagles 9 o'clock,the skilled flyer jinked several times in the direction of the Eagle. The Eagle banked into the direction of the Hawk, enforcing its' "Air Superiority" over the the smaller bird of prey.
The Eagle executed a perfect landing in a tall cottonwood tree. The Hawk not giving up yet, flew several quick figure eights in front of the tree evaluating if the tactical advantage had turned in favor of this russet colored fighter. It had not, and the brave Hawk, who in his daring challenged his pursuer, retired from the battlefield.