Osprey Osprey Everywhere – Part 1

For the last eight weeks, the surrounding Chesapeake Bay have welcomed back and been entertained by the Osprey.  They are easily sighted if you are in our area around the Kent Narrows waterways in the sky or perched on signs, buoys, channel markers, trees, and man-made nest platforms.  We’ve not had a pair of Osprey take residence and build a nest on our nest platform this season, but I witnessed a few attempts.  The first on was on April 7th, I shot them through a double-pane window so not to spook or disturb him which caused a focus problem, but it’s proof we’ve enticed interest!

Osprey laying a stick on the platform - April 7, 2013

A male Osprey bringing & laying a stick on the platform on April 7th.

Osprey moving the stick around to the 'perfect spot'.

Moving the stick around to the ‘perfect spot’.

Osprey looking over side at stick that fell

Oh no!  The male Osprey looking over side at the stick that fell off & into the water.

Osprey

The male Osprey perched for a while after losing his stick.  Enough work for that day!

Another day…..

Osprey with nesting material on platform - May 3, 2013

Male Osprey with nesting material on platform on May 3rd.  Another Osprey harrassed him & he finally departed with the material.

A third time…..

Osprey arriving with stick on the platform - May 8, 2013

Osprey arriving with sticks on the platform on May 8th.  Another Osprey in the air was harrassing.

The Osprey left the stick.

The Osprey departed and left the sticks.

Osprey

A female Osprey returned shortly thereafter, and perched for a few minutes before departing without them.  Later that evening, I check the platform and the sticks were gone.  😦

I imagine young Osprey that returned this season are trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing, maybe trying to entice or impress a mate with their building skills.  🙂

In the meantime, our Oyster Cove platform is a regular perch for the area’s Osprey just as it was last season.  And again, the different pairs all think they ‘own’ our platform and at times will fight over who gets to perch on it.

Osprey fighting over platform

Osprey fighting over platform

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When they aren’t chasing each other off, the Osprey perch temporarily to rest, territory watch, sleep, eat, and even mate.

Osprey

Male Osprey

Osprey

Male Osprey

Even mated Osprey meet up at the platform for a ‘home away from home’ perch.

Osprey Mates

Osprey Mates

Osprey Mates (male on left, female on right)

Osprey Mates (male on left, female on right)

Osprey enjoying a meal

Male Osprey enjoying a meal

Osprey Mates

Osprey Mates

Osprey Mates

Osprey Mates

Osprey Mating

Osprey Mating

Lippincott’s Channel Marker 3 is another perch enjoyed and fought over.

Osprey partners

Osprey partners

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Osprey mating on Lippincott Channel Marker 3

Osprey mating

The Osprey dines almost exclusively on live fish, often catching its meals by hovering over the water at an altitude of 50 to 200 feet, then diving feetfirst into the water to catch its prey.  It is very entertaining to watch them in action.  AND very challenging to photograph!  Here are a few of my attempts at trying, to show their form and technique.

Osprey in dive-mode.

Osprey in dive-mode

Osprey in dive-mode

Osprey in dive-mode

Feet-first for the attack

Feet-first for the attack

SPLASH!

SPLASH!

The Osprey lifts himself back out of the water.  Was he successful?

The Osprey lifts himself back out of the water.

Up, up, up!  Was he successful?

Up, up, up! Was he successful?

Yes!

Yes!

And he's off to enjoy his meal!

And he’s off to enjoy his meal!

Another Osprey, another dive…..

Well into his dive, ready to strike.

Well into his dive, ready to strike.

SPLASH!

SPLASH!

Lifting up and out

Lifting up and out

Another Osprey succeeds!

Another Osprey succeeds!

And he's off to enjoy his meal as well.

And he’s off to enjoy his meal as well.

One more time…

Osprey in dive-mode

Osprey in dive-mode

Lining up for the strike

Lining up for the strike

SPLASH!

SPLASH!

It's amazing to watch them lift out of the water into flight after total submersion!

It’s amazing to watch them lift out of the water into flight after total submersion!

Wings of strength!

Wings of strength!

This Osprey wasn't so lucky this time.

This Osprey came up empty-talon but was successful when he quickly tried again!

Each osprey foot has a reversible front toe, as well as barbs (called spicules), which help it hold onto a slippery fish in flight.  And that’s why I’ve never seen an Osprey drop a fish!

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I watched two Osprey fishing at the same time and they both snagged a fish quickly.  They then flew to each other and swirled around and off together, as if they were celebrating.  A mated pair fishing together was a first for me!  🙂

Osprey pair that fished together

Osprey pair that fished, celebrated, & flew off together.  So cool!

It is here I’ll make a stop and finish a Part 2 with lots of Osprey flight photos.

Thank you for your visit, I hope you enjoyed these behavior shots as much as I enjoyed taking and witnessing them.  I do love my Osprey!

27 thoughts on “Osprey Osprey Everywhere – Part 1

  1. It’s a shame that your osprey never returned to the platform near you, maybe one of these years another pair will make it their home. It looks like there’s still enough action to entertain and enlighten us through your wonderful photos and stories!

    • Since we’ve got more activity this year with actual stick-laying, I’m feeling good about next year. I’m certainly enjoying the action the platform still draws from the visitors, keeps me active on challenging shots. Thanks Jerry!

  2. I do enjoy “sharing” your osprey! It would be so nice to have the platform covered in sticks and treasures but since it is not, the next best thing is to have one of the most popular spots in the neighborhood to hang out, eat and rest. The mated pair fishing together is amazing. Thanks for sharing your photos and your knowledge. Can’t wait for part 2! hugs

    • Thank you Beth, you know I love my Osprey! Hoping next year the platform does entice a pair and we have little ones to watch grow. In the meantime, our area’s Osprey are doing a wonderful job entertaining us and each other. This morning one was on the nest eating a fish when I left…..funny how a bird can make me late for work, lol. Hugs!

  3. What a wonderful set of pictures Donna! Lucky you to have these lovely birds close to your home. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Thanks Bob, I do want to get better at being more in focus at hand-held as I can spin & move quicker than my tripod’s wimberley head. Boy, birds can really move fast! I love their challenge and the beauty I’m able to capture when I can! 🙂

      • I, too have a Wimberley head, but it just doesn’t work well when trying to catch birds in flight. I hand-hold my camera with a 100-400mm zoom for that most of the time. Ocassionally, I get lucky with the 500mm and the Wimberley, but I certainly don’t depend on it.

  4. Wow this is a terrific series of photos Donna. I really enjoy your narrative and the photos to go along with it. I feel as though I am there watching all this take place. Well done and your passion for these majestic birds shows.

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