Wednesday, July 28, 2010

McIntosh Lake Osprey - Part 1: The Catch

While viewing the Pacific Loon this afternoon, I had seen a potential Osprey headed away from me on the far side of the lake. The light was poor, and at the time it was too distant to make out a solid field mark. Fortunately, I spotted it making another pass as I headed back off the dam. This time it gave me a good angle for an ID as it scanned the water...but identification wasn't all it was about to share.

It dove...

...fully beneath the surface....

...and then reemerged.

I was surprised that it didn't retain its buoyancy to pop back out of the water. Instead it stayed on the surface and had to work hard to get back into the air. Finally, after a hundred or so frames of continuous shooting it was able break free and begin its triumphant flight with the catch.

Because I wasn't anticipating the sequence, being well beyond the range of my lens, and with the dark overcast I didn't get the clarity I had hoped for when tightening up the crop. That being what it was, I still learned a lot from flipping through this sequence frame by frame. My incorrect assumption was that Osprey fished like Bald Eagles, skimming the surface and plucking their prey out of the water when it rose to the surface. This was the first time I had seen that they use an apple bobbing style instead.
Watching the effort that bird had to put forth to get back into the air, with a load that heavy, really gave me a new appreciation for a what Osprey go through as a routine part of their day to day activity.

1 comment:

  1. Nice shots! There are several that fish the river below our house and I have seen them dive like that many times, but I've never gotten any good photos. You did very well to get these!