Medina Journal-Register — Recently I made an effort to photograph the rebuilding of an osprey nest that had been blown down this past winter. A blind was set up near the nest site and several mornings were spent photographing from it.
The male seems to do most of the material collecting at the beginning with the female joining in later but not as much. The female seems to do a lot of supervising and encouraging though! I have not been able to capture it with the camera yet but have witnessed how the bird will fly at a dead branch on a tree and grab it with his feet and try to break it off with his momentum which is then carried to the nest site. Some times these limbs can be pretty big and they don’t always break off. The osprey is then pushed back and has to let go of it. They also dive down close to the ground near the edge of the marsh and grab clumps of grass and sometimes aquatic vegetation with some mud mixed in apparently for “mortar” for the nest.
They will also pick up limbs that are floating in the water, some of which they can hardly lift from it. Many pictures have been gotten of them flying with a long limb that has one end still dragging in the water as they head to the nest and it is always amazing how they manage.
Other wildlife was also seen and photographed on several of these mornings in the blind including a shot of a osprey chasing an immature eagle away from his nesting area. Nice close shots of a pair of Hooded Mergansers were gotten one morning too as were some grebes.
The best morning on this quest was when I woke and was still pretty tired and thought of not going out. However the clear early morning sky told me there was going to be great sunlight, which is needed for good flight shots, so I forced my self up and headed to the blind.
When I arrived there was a slight north wind and the smell of really rotten fish was picked up near the blind which was discouraging. I never found it and it was really bad but the osprey action eventually took my mind off that. There was a lot of limb collecting and a good share of it was right from the water in front of me. Apparently the change of wind over night had blown some limbs from the north shore out into the open water. Many of the limbs were long and heavy and it was quite a sight to see them dragging them across the water for a distance before getting them completely out. It also gave some great photographing opportunities.
Then the female took off fishing by soaring high above the water looking for fish. When one is spotted they dive right into the water,sometimes completely submerged to grab the fish with those huge claws.
She caught a bullhead and took it to a dead tree near the nest where I was able to photograph her eating it. Another great photographing moment.
However the best shot of the morning had nothing to do with the ospreys. A movement on the water caught my attention in front of me and about a half a dozen shots of a full breeding plumage common loon was gotten as it swam off to my left. These were the first real close shots of a full plumage loon that I have gotten. I kind of kicked myself for not spotting it sooner when it had been in a better position for the lighting.
But things got better as the loon got up and flew right across in front of the blind. Only two shots were gotten off but one was perfect. The wings were down showing the beautiful white spot pattern on them, the light was just the right angle and the focus and exposure were right on. A real trophy shot for me!
So getting out of bed when I really didn’t want to made for one of my best photo adventures this spring and showed me how extremely beautiful a loon in full breeding plumage can be. You never know what Mother Nature is going to show or teach you so you want to be out there as much as you can!
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