Osprey – Highly Skilled Fish Hunter

A couple days ago, I noticed an osprey flying high above the lake where we live in Florida. It was probably the same osprey I had recently seen above the lake a couple times. Apparently, ospreys were back from wintering in South America. Some northern ospreys winter in Florida, and some Florida ospreys winter as far south as Argentina.

March is nesting season in Florida. Most likely, the osprey was almost returning to our lake daily, it probably has a nest nearby and hungry young to fee. Unfortunately, the nest is not on our lake.

When I saw the osprey, I quickly grabbed my camera, went outside and immediately focused on the bird. It was a bright sunny morning, perfect for hunting fish and for photographing the osprey.

The osprey flew in large circles above the lake and occasionally swooped down low near the water. Apparently, the fish the Osprey was seeing was no longer near the surface on these passes over the water. Ospreys are piscivores, that is, living predominately on fish. That is why they are also called fish hawks.

The osprey took a few breaks from fishing and perched on top of tall pine trees alongside the lake, while keeping a close eye on the water below.

I followed the osprey on each attempt, hoping it would catch a fish within my field of view. Unfortunately, some of its attempts were blocked from my view.

Then it happened, the osprey flew down and across the water, dropping its feet and talons just below the surface and grabbing a small fish. The unsuspecting fish was probably hunting for something to eat, when it suddenly took a oneway flight to dinner. I hope the fish died from being out of the water before it became a meal.

Notice the osprey’s long sharp talons, perfect for a one-foot grab of a fish below the surface. With keen eyesight, they can spot a fish from far away, swoop down with incredible speed, and snatch it in their talons before it has time to escape.

The above image is my favorite, showing the osprey and fish just after the bird quickly grabbed it from below the water and kept flying—flying straight toward me.

The osprey and its fish flew over the pine trees and out of sight, probably to its nest.

I included the below image, because it appeared the osprey was looking directly at me from across the lake during one of its ‘breaks’ in the pine trees. It apparently was not camera shy and gave me an exciting show, and opportunity to photograph it catching a fish.

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Eagle vs Osprey

Recently, I spotted an American Bald Eagle on a branch in a large dead tree across the lake. I also noticed another bird buzzing (flying closely to) the eagle. I ran inside and grabbed a camera and returned to capture an osprey harassing the eagle. I keep a camera ready for such opportunities.

I periodically see eagles around our lake, but more often see ospreys hunting and diving for fish. Apparently, the osprey considers our part of the lake as its territory. Therefore, it was doing its best to get the eagle to move on, which it eventually did.

It is clear to see from the above images that the eagle was not pleased with the osprey’s lack of hospitality.

It has been a long time since I posted an article to my blog, but I was excited to have seen and photographed this amazing behavior and wanted to share it with my friends and blog followers. Although I have not been posting articles to my blog for quite some time, I have been photographing a lot of Florida wildlife and landscapes, and will share some of my favorite images (example below) in future blog articles.

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Sunflowers in Rutledge, Georgia

In late July, while attending a family reunion at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge, Georgia, I accidentally discovered a large field of sunflowers. While driving the rural country roads between Madison and Rutledge, they were a pleasant and unexpected surprise. Adding to my excitement, the sunflowers were at the peak of their bloom.

I was not only lucky to find the sunflowers, but it was perfect timing because the sunflowers were all facing the road in the late afternoon sun. Some young sunflowers species follow the sun, which is called heliotropism, but as they mature and develop seeds, the flowers droop from the weight of the seeds and no longer follow the sun.

Below are some of the images of the sunflower field. As you can see, all of the flowers were in full bloom except for one late bloomer. The above video was taken with my iPhone 7 Plus at 4K.

Sunflower 3Sunflower 2Sunflower 4Sunflower Bud

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Purple Gallinule

While backing up image files yesterday, I came across an image of a Purple Gallinule that I photographed in Everglades National Park. It was a rewarding discovery, because it brought back memories of that visit to the Everglades and the pleasure of watching the Purple Gallinule scooting across lily pads in search of food.

I was in the Everglades very early, when I found the Purple Gallinule, and the morning sun was brightly illuminating its colorful iridescent feathers. Gallinules live in swamps and wetlands in southeast United States. They eat a wide variety of food including frogs, grasshoppers, dragonflies, spiders and water plants. The Purple Gallinule is not a very good flyer, but it is an excellent wader. It uses its long toes to distribute its weight, when walking on lily pads.

Purple Gallinule Wings


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Coal Ash — An Unacceptable Gamble

If you live in or near Prince William County, Virginia, or care about the environment, there is a pending solid waster permit decision in March by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that may allow Dominion Power to bury 4 million tons of coal ash at Possum Point in an impoundment that is leaching highly toxic contaminates into the groundwater. It is has been and is poisoning people today! There are other solutions, as explained in the above film.

The film, COAL ASH – An Unacceptable Gamble, was produced by Erne is Sears and me. To see more of our work visit our website at: Protected Places Media




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