Saturday, September 26, 2009

My moment with an osprey

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been under the weather...but I am bucking up to post something tonight.

The other day, I was in my "Warbler Corner" at a nearby park. Migration brings so many neat things at that spot...usually right outside my car window.
The river runs alongside the spot where I sit...usually nothing more than ducks, geese and kingfishers. This day, I saw what initially looked like a humongous goose coming in for a landing.

But instead of splashing down, it hit the water and then lifted up again. I strained to see through the trees, and when I saw what it was, I started talking to myself:
"Oh, holy ****. An OSPREY."

Only the second one I have seen this year, and even better, it had a huge fish in its talons.
I jumped from the car (left it running!) and slunk along the treeline to get a better look.

Osprey 1

It was directly across the river from me, but trees were in the way. I stayed where I was, thinking I would never be able to get closer.
It spent a long time adjusting the fish as it perched....

Mantling fish

...just not right.....

Adjusting fish

....adjusting some more....
Adjusting again
...almost there....

Finally. Time to eat.

I let it eat more than half the fish before attempting to walk down to the river and get free of the trees.

I wasn't much of a threat, it turns out.
I walked around to the canoe access and slowly and quietly down the bank until I was directly across from the bird again. It pretty much ignored me....

...mantling its catch and watching for any other birds who might try to steal it.
Resting and watching
For twenty minutes (and the car was still running), I watched this glorious creature.

Every osprey I have ever seen has been a fly-over. Never have I had the opportunity to watch one eat, or perch, even for a minute. And for 20 minutes, this one was mine.
I stood there, grinning like a fool, silently giddy for my luck.

But all good things must come to an end.
We made eye contact.

Osprey eye contact
And I quietly gave up the field and left it in peace.


Stacy Hurt said...

Friggin AWESOME! I LOVE those birds! Great shots! Thank you!

dguzman said...

You were both winners in this encounter. Awesome.

T.R. said...


Kim said...

You lucky gal Susan!! I can't even imagine that fortune of seeing one eating its prey right before my eyes. Thank you for posting some of the pictures. Such a gorgeous bird!

Dave said...

Nice encounter. They are an amazing bird.

Dave said...

Nice encounter. They are an amazing bird.

Susan Ellis said...

One of my favourite watching them dive (at 60 mph) and come up with dinner, and the camera is always somewhere else! Great post.

Anonymous said...

Those closer encounters are special, aren't they? Great story, great photos.

NCmountainwoman said...

Great post. Guess even a Osprey isn't going to let much come between him and a great meal.

BTW: I'm glad no one stole your car.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

You gave me goosebumps!!

Susan Gets Native said...

It gave ME goosebumps!
If I ever ever EVER got to hold one, I would just die of joy.