Bald Eagle and an Osprey

Here in southern BC, we have spent the last few days with lovely warm weather for February, but have been absolutely hammered with rain as well.  This morning, I woke up to a reprieve from the rain and even a few hints of blue sky.  As such, I finally got out on a morning walk with my camera.  I can’t believe it is February and these are the first 2015 photos I am able to post.  They aren’t the best eagle or osprey photos I have taken and the birds weren’t doing anything weird or wonderful.  I am just so thrilled that I was able to have a dry walk and see some birds that I decided to share.

Based on the quality and direction of the light, and how desaturated the photos were, I decided to convert everything to black and white.

Happy Sunday everyone!

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An osprey peers down at me from a tree along the banks of the Pitt River.
20150208_Osprey
Tired of being photographed, the osprey flees the paparazzi.
This osprey didn't seem to appreciate the camera being pointed at it, and flew away to a new perch after only a couple photos.  We played this game a few times before it headed off out of reach of my camera.
This osprey didn’t seem to appreciate the camera being pointed at it, and flew away to a new perch after only a couple photos. We played this game a few times before it headed off out of reach of my camera.
20150208_Bald Eagle
The trunks of two trees nicely frame a beautiful bald eagle. It kept a very watchful eye on Spencer and I.
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The eagle’s penetrating gaze trained in the direction of the osprey. Even though it was a fair distance away, I have no doubt they were aware of each other.

Ospreys

Here are a few osprey photos from the past two weeks that I liked, but have only just had the chance to work on.  They don’t really go together as a grouping, but I wanted to get them posted, as I am hoping to have some good sightings on the upcoming weekend 🙂

An osprey coming into land atop an electrical pole. 1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO140
An osprey coming into land atop an electrical pole.
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO140
An osprey perches atop an electrical pole.  The first rays of sunlight were hitting the osprey directly, and I was shooting into the sun, making the colours washed out, and a black and white conversion a good choice. 1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO110
An osprey perches atop an electrical pole. The first rays of sunlight were hitting the osprey directly, and I was shooting into the sun, making the colours washed out, and a black and white conversion a good choice.
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO110
An osprey heads out over the Pitt River on a hazy summer morning. 1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO100
An osprey heads out over the Pitt River on a hazy summer morning.
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO100
A mother osprey with two (very large) chicks on a post in the Pitt River.  The chicks called out constantly whenever the mother flew away.  The small stretch of river I walk along regularly has been quite an osprey nursery, with several active nests. 1/1000sec, f10, ISO4500
A mother osprey with two (very large) chicks on a post in the Pitt River. The chicks called out constantly whenever the mother flew away. The small stretch of river I walk along regularly has been quite an osprey nursery, with several active nests.
1/1000sec, f10, ISO4500

Swallows

The hazy days of summer.  A combination of early morning fog and the sun coming up from behind the Golden Ears Mountains.  1/640sec, f5.6, ISO400
The hazy days of summer. A combination of early morning fog and the sun coming up from behind the Golden Ears Mountains.
1/640sec, f5.6, ISO400
A northern rough winged swallow. 1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO640
A northern rough winged swallow.
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO640
I'd never before noticed such a huge group of swallows.  They stayed out over the water only for a short time, and then all headed back towards the trees and grasses. 1/640sec, f5.6, ISO400
I’d never before noticed such a huge group of swallows. They stayed out over the water only for a short time, and then all headed back towards the trees and grasses.
1/640sec, f5.6, ISO400
I've been lucky enough to capture some decent photos of both the northern rough winged swallow, and this cliff swallow.  I've definitely seen some barn swallows in the mix as well, but I haven't managed to get any photos of them yet. 1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO640.
I’ve been lucky enough to capture some decent photos of both the northern rough winged swallow, and this cliff swallow. I’ve definitely seen some barn swallows in the mix as well, but I haven’t managed to get any photos of them yet.
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO640.

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.

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.

 

Osprey returning to her nest

Even with my 300mm lens, I had to crop out an awful lot of the photo to get in this tight, as the pillars where the osprey nest are quite a distance out from the dikes.  Even though it isn't as crisp as I would like; I am getting used to a new camera with a different focus system, and the morning haze makes the photo look a bit noisy - I don't care.  I am grateful to have captured this moment of the mama osprey returning to her nest with building materials while her little one looks on.  Plus, there are three starlings hanging out at the base of the nest, probably looking to sneak off with any leftover tidbits!
Even with my 300mm lens, I had to crop out an awful lot of the photo to get in this tight, as the pillars where the osprey nest are quite a distance out from the dikes. Even though it isn’t as crisp as I would like; I am getting used to a new camera with a different focus system, and the morning haze makes the photo look a bit noisy – I don’t care. I am grateful to have captured this moment of the mama osprey returning to her nest with building materials while her little one looks on. Plus, there are three starlings hanging out at the base of the nest, probably looking to sneak off with any leftover tidbits!

Osprey

I was spoiled for choice with all the birds to photograph in one day: yellowthroats, robins, heron, ducks, and these beautiful osprey.

I don't have quite a long enough lens for a good shot of a nesting osprey, but I've posted this as reference to show how huge they build their nests.  Early in the spring, I captured some shots of an osprey carrying huge branches - this is why! 1/250 sec, f5.6, ISO 100
I don’t have quite a long enough lens for a good shot of a nesting osprey, but I’ve posted this as reference to show how huge they build their nests. Early in the spring, I captured some shots of an osprey carrying huge branches – this is why!
1/250 sec, f5.6, ISO 100
1/4000 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
1/4000 sec, f5.6, ISO 400

Osprey in flight