Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My experience with the Ospreys in 2008

Ospreys have always been my favorite raptor. I  saw one dive several hundred feet and hit the water to retrieve a fish. That sounded like a rifle shot. I believe that was in the 1970's. Since then , I have only seen them seasonally at River of Life Farm, on the North Fork River. They can be spotted from September until November and again for a few months in the spring on the North Fork.

This past fall 2008, when I went to ROLF in September, I stayed in the tree house by the river, knowing that I would great photographic opportunities for Ospreys and Eagles. For the most part, the songbirds had lost their voice for the year; expect an occasional Common Yellow Throat Warbler and a White Eyed Vireo or two. Also, there is always a Carolina wren calling.

I arrived on a Monday evening; after saying  "hello" to Myron and Ann, I unloaded my camera equipment, fly-rod, and clothes and laid on the bed to rest about an hour before taking a walk. No sooner did I lay down, than I heard a great screeching outside the cabin. A magnificent osprey had a large fish help under his talons. I jumped up and saw a juvenile osprey perched on an old dead tree across the river. I quietly got out my camera, twisted on a long lens and tried to sneak out onto the deck for a few quick pictures.  Just as I got the camera lifted and steadied, a territorial kingfisher, angry by the ospreys intrusion, attacked the drove the osprey off the perch.

I was so disappointed. The next morning another osprey (possibly the same one) was again squawking from the same perch. At this time I set up a tripod with a very long lenses to try for a photograph again. I scared him when I raised the tripod. Another opportunity missed.

During the next 4 days I had at least four more missed chances at a good photograph of this bird and each time he was attacked by the same kingfisher. I finally got a flying shot on the last day; which was far from what I expected after the first day; but still nice. I used a Canon 5D with a 400mm f/5.6L + 1.4 TC Canon lens - handheld.

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