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Posts Tagged ‘Belle Haven Marina’

Hoping to capture a shot of an osprey  (Pandion haliaetus) snagging a fish earlier this month, I started firing my camera each time the osprey dove toward the surface of the water with talons extended, but, unlike the bird, I came up empty-handed. The osprey, it turns out, was not fishing for food—it was gathering building materials for its nest. It was impressive nonetheless to watch an osprey fly up into the sky with a pretty large branch in its grasp.

Click on the photos if you want to see a higher resolution view of the images. (I am always amazed by the osprey’s yellow eyes.)

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Soaring high above the earth, this Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) seemed to be relaxing, enjoying a moment of peace before getting back to the pressing  job of rebuilding the nest.

osprey_soar_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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As I was observing the osprey couple on the Potomac River this past weekend, I spotted an unusual-looking duck of a species that I had never seen before. One of my fellow photographers said that he was pretty sure that it was a Canvasback duck (Aythya valisineria) and I couldn’t disagree, having no idea what a Canvasback duck looked like.

The duck was a pretty good distance away and I was looking through my telephoto lens when it decided to take off from the water. I don’t think that the duck was aware of our presence, for it initially flew toward us and parallel to the shore before veering off into the center of the river. I was able to track the duck pretty well and got some in-flight shots, including my two favorites that I am posting.

I am not one hundred percent sure of the identification and would welcome a confirmation or correction, as appropriate, from someone with more experience in identifying bird species.

canvasback_flight_blog canvasback_flight2_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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A breeding pair of Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) has returned to a nesting site only a few miles from where I live and I was thrilled to get some shots of the ospreys yesterday, on a bright sunny day.

The nest, which has been used for quite a number of years, is built on a wooden piling near the Belle Haven Marina south of Old Town Alexandria on the Potomac River. The piling is tilted quite a bit, apparently because of the pressure of the ice that accumulated when the cold temperatures this winter caused the river to freeze, but the birds seem undeterred and were busily adding sticks to the nest yesterday. It looks like the ospreys may be compensating for the angle by building the nest higher on one side than the other, though it is really hard to tell at the moment.

I took lots of shots yesterday that I need to review, but I thought I would post this one as a sneak preview and suspect that I will have enough shots for another few postings. The ospreys flew by a few times (most often the male) and I was able to get photos of them in flight andworking on the nest.  I remember hearing that there were ospreys on the Potomac River, but somehow never made the trip last year during breeding season. This year, I will try to make more frequent trips to check on the couple’s progress.

osprey_flight_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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