Sunday, June 23, 2013

Osprey in the Yard



More precisely, the osprey was in a tree, but just barely. How DID that large bird balance all of its bulk on the slender, flexible, topmost leader branch of our cedar tree? and WHY was he in the area? Neighbor Marcie reports that osprey are common around the lake, sighting them frequently near the Rowing Center. How is it that this is the first osprey we have ever seen or heard locally?  An osprey's call is distinctive, loud and piercing enough to draw the attention of even non-birding humans. It was this repeated high-pitched call (link) that prompted us to stop and look up. The bird remained in place for ages, perched comfortably atop a 65-foot tree, long enough for us to grab the cameras and snap off a series of shots to use for identification. 

The wicked-looking curved beak indicated the bird was a flesh-eating raptor, but it definitely was not an eagle or a hawk. A comparison of our shots with some bird book photos and several on-line images indicated it was an osprey (Pandion haliaetus). Click here for a brief but interesting article about osprey. 

For some impressive still images of osprey in flight, visit Graham Owen's website, or check out this brief BBC YouTube video of an osprey fishing (link). These birds are impressive, sitting still or in motion. Capturing an image of an airborne osprey might become a new photo challenge, paired with my ongoing effort for improved eagle action images (link). 

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