I swoop and dive into the river James.
Out from the shallow water’s a fish I retain.
My young juveniles with open beaks awaits me.
I nourish them with fish I caught by the talons of my feet.
Pictured taken from a Sony A77II, Sony lens 70–400mm,
1/1250 sec., at f5.6, ISO 400, 360mm
I go to the river camera in hand, to photograph the ospreys. I search for the hawks but none seen. About two hours later six ospreys come to their favorite fishing hole. Now the survival of the fittest begins.
After taking some photos a thought came to mind. Do ospreys have a vision that reveal where and when it finds the fish? With its hypnotic trance-like yellow eyes it focuses with the intensity of a laser beam.
The innocent fish below swims in search of edible aquatic life. The osprey from above the waters surface plunges to the water feet first. Its’ talons hit the fish like a bolt of lightning.
Very few fish survive the bear like grasp of the osprey’s piercing talons. With wings powerful enough to knock a dog off its feet the osprey lifts its catch out of the water taking it to the nest to feed the family. The survivors are fish who swim deep enough to keep away from its flying predators.
About seventy yards above the waters’ surface this osprey hovers like a helicopter, its yellow eyes focused on its prey.
With a sudden-feet first plunge its talons open like claws. The bird of prey hooks its catch and off it flies with his fish.
The osprey is a hawk known as a fish hawk. Its primary food is fish but will search nearby fields and swamps for rodents, snakes and other reptiles as a last resort. They build their nest out of sticks and debris placed in a tree, on rocks, or telephone poles. I often see nests built on day-markers and channel-markers. The male delivers the fish to the female on the nest who tears off pieces to feed to the young.
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Photos and writing by 1kayaker.wordpress.com (Richard Smith)