Monday Musings – Ever See an Osprey Being Harassed?

Its a known fact that Red Winged Blackbirds like to harass Osprey. This really isn’t an issue for just Osprey but Raptors in general.
I have documented this several times at the Osprey nests I visit. As one would expect this behavior is more common when the Osprey and Red Winged Blackbirds are sharing nesting locations.

Red Winged Blackbird Sneaks up on Momma Osprey
Red Winged Blackbird Showing Off

On a recent trip to one of the nests, I was able to capture this in flight pursuit.

Red Winged Blackbird in Pursuit of Osprey

What interests me most about this behavior is it seems to be specific to a few of the Red Winged Blackbirds. There are times I visit these nests and the birds all seem to coexist without any interaction. There are other times when the Red Winged Blackbirds are relentless in their pursuit of the Osprey, so much so, that photographing and observing the Osprey’s behavior (yes, observation is a major part of what I do when I go to photograph subjects) can be difficult.

Photos captured with D3x/D700 w/600mm f/4 on Lexar Digital Film

Momma Feeding Her Chicks

Osprey Chick Calling for Food

I had the opportunity to return to the Osprey nest this week. The chicks are getting close to taking flight. Their wings are now fully developed. No more wholes created by not enough feathers.

Osprey Chick with Mouthful of Fish

One of the things I like about visiting this nest is that it is very peaceful. Most of you have heard this before but wildlife photography affords you a lot of time to think as you sit and wait for something to happen (it doesn’t always). This time however I was able to capture something new to me. The female Osprey feeding her young.

Pappa Osprey Keeping Watch Over Nest

All this occurred while dad kept a watchful eye over me!

Images captured by Nikon D700, 600 f/4 w/ 1.4 TCe-II on Lexar Digital Film.

Glossy Ibis

I had the opportunity to observe a group of Glossy Ibis that were feeding near the Osprey nest that I visited the last few weekends.

Glossy Ibis in Flight

Its interesting that I have never seen a troop of Ibis at the nest prior to this visit. I have visited this particular nesting site for the last 3 years.

Glossy Ibis Portrait

It was unfortunate that the group moved off into the distance not long after I arrived, but it was fun pulling out my binoculars and watching them interact. I also made some great images of the mother Osprey feeding the chicks which I will share with you all shortly.

Images made with Nikon D700, 600 f/4 with 1.4 TCe-II on Lexar digital film.

Monday Musings – A Morning with Yellow Crowned Night Herons

Yellow Crowned Night Heron in Front of Grass

Its rare that I go out on a photography hunt and come back with the exact species of wildlife I hoped to photograph, except for when I go to a nest. Its one of the things I like most about wildlife photography. You plan, plan some more and then plan again, and your trip presents you with something you didn’t plan on!

Yellow Crowned Night Heron Eyeing Breakfast

This morning I was not looking for Yellow Crowned Night Herons. In fact this was a new species for me.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron Plunge

But ALL I found this particular morning was Yellow Crowned Night Herons. I did not photograph anything else. The morning was glorious with great light and fantastic sunrise.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron with Crab Breakfast

I really enjoyed sitting at this location (about 2 hours) and watching these Herons hunt. The typical behavior…..shaking the leg while they feel for their prey. It was a great morning. And capturing this bird with a crab made the day that much more special. I wonder sometimes if I really like watching the behavior of my subjects more than actually getting the image. On second thought I definitely like getting the image :-).

Images captured with Nikon D700, 600 f/4 with 1.4 TCe-II on Lexar Digital Film.