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Posts Tagged ‘osprey in action’

As I was walking along a trail last Tuesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge I heard the cry of an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) that sounded like it was really close. I looked up, reacted quickly, and managed to capture this sequence of shots.

In many ways I should not have been able to get these shots. I had the wrong lens on my camera. Instead of a long telephoto lens, I had my 180mm macro lens. My camera settings were more appropriate for a static portrait than for a moving subject. Fortunately I almost always have my camera set for continuous shooting, so I was able to fire off a quick burst and was pretty pleased with the results.

These images remind me of the importance of taking photos whenever and however you can. Conditions may not be optimal and your gear may not be perfectly suited to the task, but I think it is best not to worry about that when you find yourself presented with a photo opportunity—just shoot it with what you have.

Osprey

Osprey

Osprey

Osprey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I inched my way forward yesterday when I spotted this bird in a tree at the edge of Lake Cook in Alexandria, Virginia. Gradually I came to see that it was an osprey (Pandion haliaetus) lunching on a fish. When I moved a few steps closer, however, it detected my presence and its reaction was quicker than mine—I couldn’t quite keep the osprey within the frame of my camera.

I have included an image of the osprey just before it took off to give you an idea of what I was seeing as I was doing my best to be stealthy. The eyesight and reactions of raptors is so good that it is really tough to get even this close. I suspect that in this case the osprey was slightly distracted because it was eating.

The osprey did not fly completely out of sight but perched in the highest branches of a tree on the other side of the small lake. There the osprey was able to continue its lunch without further interruptions.

osprey

osprey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Earlier this week I watched a pair of Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) at my local marsh circling about in search of a meal and captured a sequence of shots of a successful effort. I have previously seen ospreys flying with fish in their talons, but I had never actually seen an osprey catch a fish.

The first shot, my favorite, shows the osprey flying away with its prize, just after it plucked the fish out of the water. Initially the osprey spotted the fish (photo 2) and arrested its forward motion to prepare to dive (photo 3). I tried to track the osprey as it dove, but it dropped so quickly that all I got in the frame was the tail end of the bird. It looks like ospreys dive head first toward the water and then at the last minute bring their legs forward so that they hit the water feet first.

The fourth photo gives you an idea of how forcefully the osprey hit the water. It made a loud splash and much of its body looks to be submerged. The final shot shows the osprey emerging from the water, using its impressive wings to generate an amazing amount of power.

OspreyOspreyOspreyOspreyOsprey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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