Bald Eagles versus an Osprey

I was out for my usual Saturday morning walk, when I heard a great amount of commotion out on the water, and I knew even before I looked that the cry was of an eagle.  The bald eagle had raided the nest of an osprey and stole one of the chicks, and the mother osprey was out for blood.

The bald eagle pauses on one of the eroding pylons in the Pitt River, with the osprey chick still clutched in her talons.
The bald eagle pauses on one of the eroding pylons in the Pitt River, with the osprey chick still clutched in her talons.
Calling out to her partner, the lifeless legs of the chick dangling in the air.
Calling out to her partner, the lifeless legs of the chick dangling in the air.
The chick is dropped into the river, as the eagle begins her defence against the mother osprey.
The chick is dropped into the river, as the eagle begins her defence against the mother osprey.
Even though nothing can be done to save the chick, the osprey mother is relentless in her attacks of the eagle.
Even though nothing can be done to save the chick, the osprey mother is relentless in her attacks of the eagle.
The battle continues.
The battle continues.
The osprey circles back again to try for another attack.
The osprey circles back again to try for another attack.

Bald Eagle vs Osprey-7 Bald Eagle vs Osprey-8

The dramas unfolding in nature are better than any soap opera!
The dramas unfolding in nature are better than any soap opera!
The eagle's partner flies in to provide reinforcement.
The eagle’s partner flies in to provide reinforcement.
The nest robber still defends her position as her partner comes in to land.
The nest robber still defends her position as her partner comes in to land.
The landing is aborted and the battle continues in the air.
The landing is aborted and the battle continues in the air.

As the drama continued in the air, Spencer was getting restless and it was time to carry on with our walk.

Trumpeter Swan

After a very stressful week, I was dragging my butt this morning, but I still managed to get out the door for our walk by ten past six.  I almost left my camera at home, but decided to bring it along at the last minute – I’m so glad I did.  I had a lovely walk with Spencer and fabulous bird sightings as well.  I have lots of editing and posting to do over the next few days!

Today was the first time I saw a trumpeter swan along the Pitt River.  I’ve not had any success in finding any information online about what the tag signifies, but it is a yellow neck band, marked with M38 as well as a visible band around one leg.

I was surprised to see a tagged trumpeter swan (M38) amongst the geese towards to end of the dikes.
I was surprised to see a tagged trumpeter swan (M38) amongst the geese towards to end of the dikes.
1/1000sec, f6.3, ISO640
1/1000sec, f6.3, ISO640

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter swan tagged with M38 swimming amongst some Canada geese.  One their own, the geese seem very large, but next to the swan, they seem so small!
Trumpeter swan tagged with M38 swimming amongst some Canada geese. One their own, the geese seem very large, but next to the swan, they seem so small!
My first sighting of a swan along the Pitt River coming to an end.
My first sighting of a swan along the Pitt River coming to an end.
Flying so low over the river, the long wings of the swan occasionally made contact with the water. 1/1000sec, f6.3, ISO2200
Flying so low over the river, the long wings of the swan occasionally made contact with the water.
1/1000sec, f6.3, ISO2200

Trumpeter Swan in flight

Heron and a trio of ducks

I'm not sure if the heron is staring at the trio of ducks, or at something else in the small pond.  It was very close to the turn around point on my walk, and when I passed by again less than 5 minutes later, the heron was still there, but the ducks had found another place to spend the morning.
I’m not sure if the heron is staring at the trio of ducks, or at something else in the small pond. It was very close to the turn around point on my walk, and when I passed by again less than 5 minutes later, the heron was still there, but the ducks had found another place to spend the morning.

Bald Eagle – Straight Ahead!

Even though it is a holiday and I didn’t need to get up at the crack of dawn to head to work, I did anyways, so I could head out for an early morning walk with Spencer and hopefully catch a few nice photos of the sunrise or the herons (which I did!).  I’d already snapped over 130 photos on our hour walk, so I decided to put my camera away.  I’ve beaten myself up before about putting my camera away before getting to the car, and hopefully today will have driven that point through my thick skull!

I don’t know if it was a sound or the movement over the water that caught my attention, but I looked to the right over the river, and heading towards me at top speed was a bald eagle.  Thank goodness I took my camera in my sling bag, not my backpack, as I was able to get it out in time, turn it on, and snap a few photos.  I am seriously grateful I put my camera into auto ISO mode earlier on the walk (I actually didn’t realize it was possible on M to use auto ISO on this camera – so much still to learn about the new body!) but I’m sure that is what kept me from having a bunch of photos either over or under exposed.

The perfect ending to a beautiful sunrise walk :) 1/100sec, f6.3, ISO360
The perfect ending to a beautiful sunrise walk 🙂
1/100sec, f6.3, ISO360
Getting closer!
Getting closer!
A very intense look to have coming at you at top speed! 1/100sec, f6.3, ISO280
A very intense look to have coming at you at top speed!
1/100sec, f6.3, ISO280
I did not crop this photo; the eagle really was this close.  I had my lens at the maximum reach of 300mm, but I am still quite shocked just how close the eagle passed in front of us.  I'm very grateful I keep Spencer on a short leash at all times, because I imagine to an eagle he looks like breakfast. 1/1000sec, f6.3, ISO560
I did not crop this photo; the eagle really was this close. I had my lens at the maximum reach of 300mm, but I am still quite shocked just how close the eagle passed in front of us. I’m very grateful I keep Spencer on a short leash at all times, because I imagine to an eagle he looks like breakfast.
1/1000sec, f6.3, ISO560
My last view of this majestic eagle this morning; moments later he was obscured by trees. 1/10023c, f6.3, ISO160
My last view of the majestic eagle this morning; moments later he was obscured by trees.
1/10023c, f6.3, ISO160

Osprey crash landing

While out walking this morning, two Ospreys flying around over the Pitt River caught my attention.  Spencer was gracious enough to wait patiently while I tried to snap a few photos of them.  The sequence that follows unfolded in only a minute, though it seemed much longer than that, as I watched one Osprey struggling for its life.

A pair of Ospreys flying above the Pitt River. 1/500sec, f5.6, ISO400
A pair of Ospreys flying above the Pitt River.
1/500sec, f5.6, ISO400
The one on the right is getting dangerously close to the water.
The one on the right is getting dangerously close to the water.
With a big splash, one of the ospreys end up in the river.
With a big splash, one of the ospreys ends up in the river.
While the osprey struggles in the water, its parent (or partner) circles above.
While the osprey struggles in the water, its parent (or partner) circles above.
Swooping around to assess the situation.
Swooping around to assess the situation.
It has managed to get its wings out of the water, but still no luck in getting airborne.
It has managed to get its wings out of the water, but still no luck in getting airborne.
After circling again and again, an attempt is made to lift the osprey out of the water, but that doesn't work.
After circling again and again, an attempt is made to lift the osprey out of the water, but that doesn’t work.  I’m not even certain if contact was actually made.
The osprey has managed to get its wings partially out of the water again, while its partner circles above.
The waterlogged osprey has managed to get its wings partially out of the water again, while the other circles above.
The ospreys' wings are finally nearly clear of the water.
The ospreys’ wings are nearly clear of the water.
Finally, the osprey manages to free itself from the water, and take to the air again.
Finally, the osprey manages to free itself from the water, and takes to the air again.
Heading back to the safety of the nest to recuperate!
Heading back to the safety of the nest to recuperate!

The photos are a bit fuzzy, but I was so much more concerned with taking in what was happening (and rooting for the poor osprey each time it sunk lower into the water and struggled to keep its head up).  I’m so glad I got to see a happy ending today.

 

Young elephant at the Chobe Rover

A young elephant drinks from the Chobe River in Botswana, under the protective shadow of her mother.  This little one had already lost her tail; whether it was missing at birth, or lost in an attack by a predator, only she knows.   It was amazing to spend time watching elephants; the antics of the little ones in the river brought us so much joy. 1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO560
A young elephant drinks from the Chobe River in Botswana, under the protective shadow of her mother. This little one had already lost her tail; whether it was missing at birth, or lost in an attack by a predator, only she knows.
It was amazing to spend time watching elephants; the antics of the little ones in the river brought us so much joy.
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO560

Weavers

Along with the Southern Red Bishops, the Weavers kept me entertained and happily snapping away while they went about their business.  The amount of bird life was fabulous when we were in Zambia and as well for our day trip into Botswana.  Such an amazing variety of bird life, and such extraordinary colours and patterns on the feathers.  I can’t want to return!

A group of weavers alongside the Zambezi River.  One of them looks like it's trying to climb the grass, rather than fly to a new spot! 1/4000sec, f5.6, ISO400
A group of weavers alongside the Zambezi River. One of them looks like it’s trying to climb the grass, rather than fly to a new spot!
1/4000sec, f5.6, ISO400
I haven't been able to figure out what type of weavers these are, but they were in abundance in the tall grasses next to my room at Royal Chundu. 1/640sec, f5.6, ISO200
I haven’t been able to figure out what type of weavers these are, but they were in abundance in the tall grasses next to my room at Royal Chundu.
1/640sec, f5.6, ISO200

Southern red bishops

Last April I was lucky enough to stay at the Royal Chundu Zambezi River Lodge, and just outside of my room there was a fabulous variety of birds to watch.  I was fascinated by the red bishop; the male was quite a bully, scaring off any of birds that got too close to his territory.  He was always easy to spot amongst the tall grasses with his brilliant red feathers.  The females are much more subdued, but still very beautiful.  To me they have a lovely, soft face and gentle eyes.

1/640sec, f5.6, ISO200
Female southern red bishop   1/640sec, f5.6, ISO200
1/640sec, f5.6, ISO200
Male southern red bishop   1/640sec, f5.6, ISO200

Juvenile Northern Flicker

This juvenile northern flicker stayed on the power line for what seemed to be a remarkably long time given how close I was (they always seem very skittish), but it spent most of the time looking in the opposite direction of me and my camera. This one hasn't yet developed the distinct red streaks along the cheek. The previous week I saw 7 flickers at one time; how I wish I would have had my camera along for that! 1/500sec, f6.3, ISO100
This juvenile northern flicker stayed on the power line for what seemed to be a remarkably long time given how close I was (they always seem very skittish), but it spent most of the time looking in the opposite direction of me and my camera. This one hasn’t yet developed the distinct red streaks along the cheek.
The previous week I saw 7 flickers at one time; how I wish I would have had my camera along for that!
1/500sec, f6.3, ISO100

Heron Silhouette

I'd never before seen a heron perched on the top of the water depth marker near the dike pumping station, and I quickly got my camera out to snap a few photos.  I really wasn't pleased with the results though; the photos were far too soft for my liking.  I did a quick conversion in Silver Efex Pro to see if there was any way to create an interesting image, and I'm actually quite pleased with the results.   1/500 sec, f6.3, ISO 100
I’d never before seen a heron perched on the top of the water depth marker near the dike pumping station, and I quickly got my camera out to snap a few photos. I really wasn’t pleased with the results though; the photos were far too soft for my liking.  I did a quick conversion in Silver Efex Pro to see if there was any way to create an interesting image, and I’m actually quite pleased with the results.
1/500 sec, f6.3, ISO 100