Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Can't Mistake It...Can't Forget It

Of all the birds that you see in my little area of the coast, The Osprey is probably my favorite. They are amazing Predators and perfect survivors. Their prey of choice is fish but they'll take small mammals, reptiles or other birds if the fishing isn't productive. It's quite a spectacle to see an Osprey take a fish. Unlike the pelican that dive bombs and crashes into the water to scoop the fish into it's huge beak (quite a sight in itself) or the heron/egret family that wade the shallows and spear the fish with their long sharp beaks, The osprey takes his game from the air...swooping low and grabbing the fish with strong sharp talons. Osprey are migratory and I hadn't seen any so far this year...until today! I was driving down the street by the harbor when I heard one call. The call is unmistakeable and unforgetable. They are very wary and hard to photograph but I'm sure going to have fun watching them for the next couple of months.

After seeing the osprey, I went across the bridge and cruised along the causeway. This Great Blue Heron was waiting there...looking regal.

A little further down I came across this Reddish Egret. These birds are part of the heron family and are really interesting. When young, they have the colored plummage that you see here but at some stage in their later aduthood, they go through a metamorphosis and the colored feathers are replaced by white feathers. They fish in basically the same manner as the Great Blue Heron...they wade in the shallows and strike with their long beaks to either spear the fish or to clinch them in the beak like with a pair of pliers. The methodology is a little different than that the GBH though. The heron stalks in slow motion...he moves through the water so slowly and silently that you hardly see a ripple. The egret does things a little differently...they run through the water, often with wings spread for balance and lift and pounce on the surprised fish. They dart back and forth and put on a very entertaining display. They're very lively and often comical. Just as a point of interest, the heron's catch per strike ratio seems to be a lot better than the egret's...Different strokes for different folks!

This guy came up empty on this try but he didn't seem to mind. I guess the thrill is in the chase!

All shots with the Minolta 500/f8

PS either my spell check isn't working or I didn't have any spelling errors in this post (and that's hardly ever the case).


Wendy said...

Great posts and Great photos! I also love the Osprey and so glad you got a photo of one. I was going to tell you but I forgot...I spotted an Osprey in Bayside when Michael and I came back from the Lex...I didn't stop for a photo but I usually see them there! I also saw some photos that were taken at Colet reservoir of a bald eagle. Wish I could get a photo of that!

kameelyon said...

*Whistle* Wow, OSPREY! That is way cool!

shutterflycutie said...

I think these guys (Osprays) are so cool too. The first ones I ever saw were on a trip to Montana and we kept calling them "eagles" wondering why they weren't bald?...they build perches for them there on top of the telephone poles. Makes a great photo op for travelers. Glad you got to see this one and look forward to more shots. Of course, the local boys are always fun to see...good info on their growth and abilities!