Category Archives: Osprey

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Osprey Fish Tail Lore

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 1 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 1 – babsjeheron

© 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com) © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

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Some birds are more egalitarian than others when it comes to incubating their eggs and attending to their chicks in the nest.

Mute Swans for example? Both males and females have been observed sitting on their eggs during their five-to-six week incubation. Click to see the male Mute Swan incubating eggs.

Great Blue Herons share the care and feeding of their chicks. Click to read about the Great Blue Herons’ shift change at the nest.

And what about Osprey? One bit of Osprey lore is that they always carry fish with the fish head facing in their direction of flight, for better in-flight aerodynamics. In the photos today, although the fish has no head, the Osprey is indeed carrying it with an invisible head forward. I find that aspect of the headless fish photos amusing.

Incubating eggs is largely the job of the female Osprey. It is the role of the male to bring meals back to the nest for the female during the one-month incubation period. I’ve read that the male Osprey shares his catch with his mate at the nest: when he catches a fish, he brings half the fish back to the female.

Until that October day, I had often seen and photographed Osprey carrying fish, but those fish were always whole fish. In both photos today, the Osprey is carrying half a fish. Presumably he has already given the other half to the nesting female.

I am moved by his heartwarming pair-bonding gesture.
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And since this is a Great Blue Heron blog, obligatory Heron photo:

Great Blue Heron with broken leg wings her way across the lake - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron with broken leg wings her way across the lake – babsjeheron


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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Seen Better Days. That half a fish being carried by the Osprey was once a whole and very alive fish swimming through the lake. Those were certainly better days for that fish. Even the Great Blue Heron with her broken leg had seen better days!
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Half of Anything. The Osprey is carrying half a fish. The image is straight out of the camera (SOOC), as-is except for cropping and was not artificially manipulated to become B&W. The skies were a beautiful October leaden grey.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days.
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
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Natick Town Hall
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Five Crows Gallery in Natick
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Audubon Sanctuary
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Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Osprey, Mute Swan

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Blue Heron Guest…Osprey’s Epic Fail?

Osprey in Autumn- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey in Autumn- babsjeheron

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The tall dead White Pine is favored by Bald Eagles, Red Tail Hawks, and Osprey that perch on branches offering excellent views of two coves. Great Blue Herons often fish the base of that tree, and it is one of my own favorite spots to fish for wildlife photos – more than a few of my favorite images on this blog were captured there.

I always scan for birds atop that tree with my binoculars before passing through the tunnel that separates the Middle and North lakes. That day, an Osprey carrying a very large fish was just about to touch down on the tree, and so I backpaddled the kayak to stay put on my side of the tunnel, and quickly retrieved the camera from beneath the cockpit deck.

Osprey Drops Prize Fish - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey Drops Prize Fish – babsjeheron

Looking at the above sequence, you can see the Osprey – with its wings fanning for balance – trying mightily to secure that large fish, which swings like a pendulum beneath the branch. The above sequence took only 53 seconds, from landing on the branch with the huge prize fish to losing his grip and watching the fish plummet.

Incredulous Osprey After Dropping Prize Fish - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Incredulous Osprey After Dropping Prize Fish – babsjeheron

Poor Osprey! The expressions on its face ranged from surprise to disbelief that the fish got away. It just seemed stunned and stood there staring downward, as though looking everywhere for that fish, angling its head this way and that for a better view.

Osprey Looks Down for Dropped Prize Fish - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey Looks Down for Dropped Prize Fish – babsjeheron

The Osprey stared down at the surface of the water for a long time after losing his prize catch, before taking flight nearly twelve minutes later.

Osprey Flying Away After Dropping Prize Fish - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey Flying Away After Dropping Prize Fish – babsjeheron

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There’s a symbiotic relationship among the birds that perch high up in that tree and the birds that fish at the base. The Eagles and Hawks and Osprey watch for and intercept fish that elude birds fishing from the shore. And vice-versa.

And what of the fish that got away from the Osprey? You may remember that I wrote that Great Blue Herons often fish the base of that tree. I like to think that a Great Blue Heron had a tasty free lunch that day.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Dawn Miller, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Colors of Autumn. The lead photo on this post has vibrant reds.

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Thanks to Cee for her CMMC: Autumn or Spring. Autumn leaves fit this topic.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has bright muted red autumn leaves.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Osprey

Read the rest of this entry

My What Big Talons You Have, Exclaimed Goldilocks to the Osprey

Osprey taking flight.

Osprey taking flight.

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Thanks to the kind folks at SkyWatch Friday.

Thanks once more to Prairiebirder Charlotte for her Feathers on Friday prompt.

Thanks again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s …

It’s NOT a great blue heron!

The herons have allowed a guest bird in their blog today, an osprey. What fun!

Young osprey perched amid pinecones.

Young osprey perched amid pinecones.

There are several osprey at the lake, and I’ve been watching the one shown in this post since 2009. This osprey can be found perching in several specific trees throughout the day, and in Autumn it seems to follow the sunlight around the lake. The tall pine in the photo above is a good afternoon spot, where it can bask in the warming sun on a chilly day.

This osprey is very curious and frequently makes direct fly-overs of my kayak, perhaps to see if I have any fish – I don’t – or just because of some other bird reason unknown to man. On many occasions, it has landed on the limbs of a tree directly above my kayak while I’ve been snugged against the shore relaxing.

Osprey taking off.

Osprey taking off from a perch high in a dead pine.

A favorite morning spot for this osprey is a tall, dead pine where it can perch high up with an unobstructed view of two coves, the channel, and one of the tunnels.

Early one day, when I was settled against the shore underneath that tree, photographing a great blue heron across the way, a large shadow passed overhead. I took the camera away from my eye and looked up to see the osprey landing in the tree directly above me. It perched there for a while, and I resumed photographing the heron.

The tree is across from a place that has been a favorite fishing spot for the herons over the years. I’ve seen the herons catch some very large trout and bass and sunfish there. Maybe the osprey watching the herons fishing there is on the lookout for any fish that escape the heron’s bills? With their keen eyesight, the osprey could easily track any that get away and swoop in for the kill. Perhaps it’s a symbiotic relationship between osprey and heron. That’s my story theory and I’m sticking to it.

Another osprey that has the southern end of the lake for territory also does the same thing – whenever I’m paddling there, the osprey approaches directly overhead as if to check things out. Maybe they recognize my boat after all these years? I always wear the exact same colors for each outing, so perhaps that makes me memorable to them.

Whatever the reason for the ospreys’ curiousity, I love their presence.

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Thanks to the kind folks at Skywatch Friday.

Thanks also to Ailsa and WordPress for the Travel Theme: Height challenge.

Thanks again to Prairiebirder Charlotte for her Feathers on Friday prompt.

And thanks once more to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge.

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(The photos here were taken October, 2009 and August, 2013)

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron: 1, Osprey: 0 – Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow

When the fledgling great blue heron settled in on the branch vacated by the osprey only minutes earlier, I should have known things at the lake would get exciting.

Great blue heron fledgling has returned to his nest one week after fledging.

Great blue heron fledgling has returned to his nest.

Even though they had fully fledged eight days earlier, the fledglings occasionally returned to the nest, and sometimes they were joined by one of the parents. On this day, only one fledgling was back, but he stayed for quite a while, sunning himself high above the boat traffic.

Earlier that day,  I had been thinking that I hadn’t seen any osprey at all at the lake the entire year. Then in mid-afternoon, as if the osprey had read my mind, one darted from down-channel and perched on a dead tree limb across from the herons’ nesting island. The osprey preened a bit, and then settled in for a while. 

The fledgling in the nest seemed very interested in the osprey, staring intently across the channel, watching closely.

After a while, the osprey stirred, and then suddenly dove towards the water for dinner, landed his prey in one swift move and absconded for the eastern cove, fish-in-talons.

Meanwhile, the great blue heron fledgling anxiously watched as two fishermen in a row boat stroked closer and closer to the island and nest. They landed on the shore, and flushed the fledgling in the process.

The fledgling took flight and quickly found refuge on the dead tree limb across the channel – the same branch vacated by the osprey only minutes earlier – and resumed his sunbath that had been interrupted by the boaters. He settled in and I watched from a distance through binoculars.

I should have known the osprey wasn’t gone for good, and that things would get exciting.

When the osprey returned from the eastern cove and rounded the corner to reclaim his branch, the fledgling heron was already there, but the osprey had no way of knowing that his perch had been taken; the branch was obscured from the osprey’s line of sight by pine boughs and deciduous branches, and as he curved back towards the branch from the cove, he was flying blind for a few meters.

Great blue heron fledgling emerges victorious when osprey tries to land on the same branch. Osprey is cartwheeling at bottom right corner.

A great blue heron fledgling emerges victorious when an osprey tries to land on the same branch occupied by the heron. The osprey is cartwheeling at bottom right corner.

The osprey swooped in to the final feet for his landing, just about to grasp the branch with his talons extended, only to find the interloper heron already there. I’m not sure who was more startled, the osprey or the heron. The heron bellowed out a piercing frawhnk, more bark than bird call, and lept up a foot in the air, his wings akimbo to threaten the osprey. The osprey let out a shrill scream and plummeted from the branch, whirling and cartwheeling before righting himself and flying off to the south.

I find it remarkable that a great blue heron fledgling that had fledged only eight days earlier would emerge the victor in a territorial skirmish against an adult osprey. The osprey was at a disadvantage, of course, because of its blind approach to the branch when returning from the cove.

But still… Go heron!

Heron: 1, Osprey: 0

Osprey juvenile preening chest feathers.

Osprey juvenile preening chest feathers.

The osprey is a magnificent and graceful raptor, and I feel a little guilty showing one losing the battle, in a clumsy way.

To make up for that, the bottom photo here is an osprey juvenile from today’s outing, not at all clumsy while preening. I have no idea where the osprey nest is located, but each year, I’ve observed one or two fledglings or juveniles at the lake. They’re not a “common” sight, and so it’s always a thrill to see them.

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Thanks for the Weekly Photo Challenge nudge Krista Stevens and WordPress.
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(This took place August 20, 2012)

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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