Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Osprey Fly-by

Tuesday, February 3, 2009
16 comments
Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, Florida is a world-famous birding hotspot. But it's perhaps even more popular among bird and nature photographers for the opportunity to burn up film—or electrons—on glamorous creatures such as wood storks, bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, American alligators, plus large numbers of herons, egrets, shorebirds, and waterfowl.

Early and late in the day, Black Point Wildlife Drive is busy with vehicles full of folks seeking that perfect nature image. The cars, trucks, and vans drive along very slowly, with all manner of optical and photographic gear poking out of the open windows.

I was standing next to my rental car on Merritt's Black Point Drive one fine morning in late January, when a male osprey came up off a nearby impoundment. He was not carrying a fish. He was carrying nesting material. It was a part of a palm frond, soaked and heavy from the water. The osprey labored low across the water, then along the shore next to me, passing so close that I could hear the air in his wings. At his nearest point, he was too close for me to get a photo with my 300mm lens.

We eyed each other and I gave him the thumbs up for his obvious industriousness. It made me wonder if ospreys pairs understand the concept of the "honey-do list"?

Here's the series of images that I did manage to get.








16 comments:

On February 3, 2009 at 2:02 PM Rondeau Ric said...

A little male bonding going on here Bill?

On February 3, 2009 at 3:43 PM cyberthrush said...

As a youngster my best friend and I were already birders when we joined a Little League baseball team and suggested "Ospreys" as our team name. The other kids had never heard of such a goofy name and offered up other choices. But the next week my friend brought a L.A.Fuertes picture of an osprey in flight (similar to your final pic) -- we took a vote and immediately became the Fairview Park Ospreys for the next 3 successful yrs! ;-)

On February 3, 2009 at 5:03 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

OMG! These are amazing!

But I think he is very much like you, Bill, and is hauling a tiki torch to his nest for an over-the-top festive event.

On February 3, 2009 at 7:36 PM Kathleen said...

So cool! At first I thought the poor guy was carrying the remains of a broom, feather duster or a very long toilet bowl brush. Good to know it was of natural origins.

On February 3, 2009 at 9:39 PM KatDoc said...

That is a HUGE stick! I am impressed - this guy must have been working out to carry this monster back to his nest.

Or (and I hate to suggest this) could it possibly be a FEMALE Osprey, doing some decorating? You know, I have to strike a blow for feminism now and then. :)

Thanks for such terrific photos, Bill!

~Kathi

On February 3, 2009 at 10:07 PM OpposableChums said...

Sadly, the "thumbs-up" gesture, to a Grand Ol' Osprey, means, "Hey, put that thang right back where ya brung it from, buddy."

On February 4, 2009 at 6:25 AM Jayne said...

Now THAT made mama proud! :C)

On February 4, 2009 at 6:35 AM Julie Zickefoose said...

Katdoc, it is a male--a female would have brown markings on her breast, the "osprey bra."

I keep coming back to the last photo where he's struggling--he reminds me of an old lithograph of an eagle, the stylized ones who carry arrows in their talons--or an Audubon painting, all sinuous and laboring.

On February 4, 2009 at 7:59 AM linda said...

Incredible~

Reminds me of my first eagle near the Chesapeake also with nesting material, though "my" eagle seemed to be toting phragmightie (sp)

On February 4, 2009 at 12:25 PM Janet Creamer said...

Great series of pics. I love seeing action shots like these. I also enjoyed your Least Bittern pics from the previous post.

I hope Mrs. Osprey graciously accepted that stick and didn't tell him "Get that muddy old thing out of here!"

On February 4, 2009 at 1:14 PM dguzman said...

He must've been exhausted!

On February 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM Owlman said...

Great shots Bill. Ospreys are great to photograph and I sure would burn some serious space on my memory card.

On February 4, 2009 at 7:48 PM KatDoc said...

Thanks, Zick - I didn't know osprey were sexually dimorphic.

Male or female, the pics are thrilling. Thanks for getting them, Bill.

~Kathi

On February 4, 2009 at 9:26 PM Mary said...

A tiki torch! LOL!

On February 7, 2009 at 11:09 PM pineyflatwoodsgirl said...

Ospreys always seem to be doing something interesting!

On December 28, 2009 at 8:22 AM 123 123 said...
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