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Osprey Dinner

Osprey and White Bass
Osprey with trees in the background!

This morning the black flies were unbearable and I didn’t do the birding like I would have wanted to do. Between swatting those black flies and driving around in my vehicle . . . . I saw my first Common Yellowthroat (CHECK) and Gray Catbird (CHECK) for 2008! I know many other great birds are in the area but I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to return to my vehicle.

Osprey and White Bass
Osprey with the sky in the background!

I captured these Osprey photos yesterday from my vehicle and decided to post them since I couldn’t get any pictures from today’s birding. The Osprey were feeding on what we believe was a White Bass and the bird was very cooperative (I think it didn’t want to fly away and loose its capture to another Osprey that was in the area). I used this opportunity to experiment with the lighting of the bird and the use of backgrounds. I would be interested to hear which photo you like best!

Osprey feeding on White Bass
Osprey with the hill in the background!

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38 responses

  1. Great shots. However picking a favorite would be tough. The Sky background is the most impressive, but the plumage is a bit dark compared to the others.
    1 & 2 combined would be perfect. 😉
    Either way – great shots!
    Cheers, Klaus

    3 May 2008 at 7:39 pm

  2. Very cool pictures, Mon@rch. I like them all but I think the middle one is the most dramatic. 🙂

    3 May 2008 at 7:59 pm

  3. Lisa at Greenbow

    I like number ones lighting. It is bright but I like the background of number 3. Or maybe it is that I like the fish in number one. the Osprey in number 3 and the background in number 2. This combination seems best. The utility pole looks best in number 3. Does this help? I am terrible at this sort of thing. They are all good pictures. I would take any of them.

    Too bad about the flies. Luckily we don’t have them. We do have mosquitoes. We didn’t need any repellant today though. I won’t tell you about how I got 103 species of birds today. It would have been more if the wind handn’t been howling all afternoon. UGH… I think this is my best day ever. Several annuals of course. Could have been better, though I am not complaining.

    3 May 2008 at 8:54 pm

  4. I think I like the trees in the background the best composition wise as the inclusion of the fence wire further brings home the power of the talons, though the second one brings him into such sharp focus with no competition from the background. On the other hand…. :c) OK, I’ll stop now. All THREE are grand!

    3 May 2008 at 9:03 pm

  5. Tom, if I saw the Osprey I would have NOT postponed showing it at all! Wonderful photos, but I love the first one. Oh, heck, all of them are FANTASTIC!

    3 May 2008 at 9:21 pm

  6. Whoooh, that’s a big dinner he has! Terrific shots, however I like the first better…less is more. Great job.

    3 May 2008 at 9:27 pm

  7. I’m sorry, I mean the second picture I like best.

    3 May 2008 at 9:29 pm

  8. The osprey has caught more fish than I have in 2008!

    3 May 2008 at 10:11 pm

  9. Each one has something special to offer. I liked all three…perhaps the first the best, though. It’s kind of hard to decide for me…

    Wow! Cool pictures!

    3 May 2008 at 10:19 pm

  10. I like #2 best, also.
    It shows the bird off without any competition from the background. And, gives an impression of height in the perch–not as much in those with trees behind.

    But, I would’ve been thrilled to get ANY shot!

    3 May 2008 at 10:22 pm

  11. I am sooo JEALOUS!!! That is the best picture – so clear and wow…wow…wow!!!

    3 May 2008 at 10:37 pm

  12. @ Klaus – thanks and I agree with everything you said! Main reason I posted all 3 of them!
    @ Liza – thanks and is it because I cropped it closer than the other ones?
    @ Lisa – LOL, thanks and it is nice that I could use all 3 of them in a post! Ugg, lets hope they are not around tomorrow but we had rain for most of the day to day . . . . so I suspect they will be bad again tomorrow!
    @ Jayne – Thanks and I have to agree with you on this! 🙂
    @ Mary – Thanks and I see osprey most every day! They are common birds around here!
    @ Chicago – LOL . . . sounds like you can’t decide on the first or second! Thanks
    @ Dave – thanks and more than I have also! That is a real big fish . . . I would have loved to see it take it over to the pole!
    @ Rondi – Thanks and I still have not decided which one I like best!
    @ Nina – thanks and I didn’t think of the competition part of the composition. Thanks
    @ Bird Girl – Thanks and for sure you have many amazing photos also!

    3 May 2008 at 10:43 pm

  13. Great pictures! I like them all and particularly like numbers 1 and 3 because of the way the fish is pictured 🙂 . Thanks for sharing.

    3 May 2008 at 10:44 pm

  14. Michael Head

    Hi Tom,

    I would rate the shots 1,3,2.

    Number one is clearly the best shot. The exposure is excellent and the detail is breathtaking. The background has gone out of focus enough to isolate the bird. A wider aperature would have increaed this effect.

    Number 3 is next and appears ever so slightly underexposed. It does however highlight what I was talking about in number one. The bahground has gone totally out of focus (nice bokeh) and isolates the bird.

    Number two is clearly under exposed. If this was shot in RAW I would try increasing the exposure in the raw developer and give also give the contrast a boost.

    All of the photos are keepers and I would be happy to print number one for your wall for you.

    Nice work


    3 May 2008 at 10:48 pm

  15. NatureShutterbug

    I think #2 developed with 1/3 push.

    3 May 2008 at 11:16 pm

  16. #2 – the sky background is less distracting, and shows the bird better.

    Of course, all three are great. I think I’m glad you couldn’t bird yesterday, since that meant you blogged these pics.

    4 May 2008 at 7:02 am

  17. Pam

    Wow, what a cool capture, Tom! I see Ospreys at Montezuma, but never this close. Picking a fav, that’s tough because I love them all. The middle one is like what I see in magazines, but if I *had* to choose one it would be #3! Going to flickr now to see them closer. . .

    4 May 2008 at 7:11 am

  18. Kaz

    I’d have to pick the very first one in your post as my fav. I like the trees blurred, but still recognizable. I like the post, with the wire cable… since the Osprey is obviously on an un-natural object (not a tree), the wire just lends itself to the character of the wooden post. But honestly, they are all excellent shots, why make us choose?!! *grin*

    4 May 2008 at 8:09 am

  19. I am NO picture-developing expert, but I think number one looks the most real. I like the background, I like the contrast between the bird and the background. It’s my fav!

    4 May 2008 at 8:11 am

  20. Marg

    Number 1

    but I agree with Kaz-why make us choose? LOL
    We caught our first Catbird and Common Yellowthroat yesterday

    Black flies already hmmm?

    4 May 2008 at 8:12 am

  21. That is really cool. Did you witness the “scene of the crime?” I have seen some hawk bird kills in my brief time, but never an osprey killing a full grown fish. That is truly amazing.

    4 May 2008 at 8:51 am

  22. Wow, I still haven’t seen my first Yellowthroats, Catbirds and Ospreys for 2008. You must be very lucky to see so many new species.

    4 May 2008 at 9:27 am

  23. Tom


    Very nice shots. I’m going to go with #2 as my favorite, although I really like #3 as well, and I think if it were my shot, I would crop it a little bit so that the osprey is more towards the left edge of the frame. Great shots. Warblers are here en masse today!

    4 May 2008 at 11:21 am

  24. Saw my first catbird today. I think it was the very tame one that was here last year as it flew right out of the bushes to me and announced itself.

    4 May 2008 at 1:54 pm

  25. Bo

    I like the sky. Yesterday was opening day of fishing season in Wisconsin – that osprey was a lot luckier than I was! 😦

    4 May 2008 at 2:16 pm

  26. They are both excellent – but think I’m leaning toward the 2nd photo.

    4 May 2008 at 6:08 pm

  27. Hi Mon@rch,
    I’ve always been amazed at ospreys for the nests that they build, but I’ve not seen excellent photos such as these. I’m not a good enough photo judge to rank them. The black flies sound infernal. Keep up the great work.

    4 May 2008 at 7:53 pm

  28. I personally love the last photo with the barbed wire…seems more like the natural setting that you spotted this wonderful strong looking bird.
    I saw Osrpey in Florida last winter when I escaped our harsh winter. It was nesting way-y-y-y-y- up there! Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my Grand Canyon post!!
    a tumbleweed NG

    4 May 2008 at 8:49 pm

  29. Wow! Each photo has a uniqueness…like the sideways with the full look of the fish and the background of trees…but in the second photo, love the stark sky which shows the beauty of the bird.

    I love your photos!
    PS. Hope the black flies are better soon…we just made bat houses a few weekends ago…hoping to rid the yard of mosquitos…and watch the bats!

    4 May 2008 at 9:23 pm

  30. @ Pinar – Thanks and I liked seeing the position of the fish here also!
    @ Mike – thanks and I agree with you! I don’t normally put my stuff up on my walls but let me know if you want a larger size for your wall!
    @ NatureShutterbug – thanks
    @ Wren – thanks and but was going to save them for a wordless Wednesday!
    @ Pam – thanks and I don’t normally get to see them this close also! Thanks
    @ Kaz – thanks and I kinda like the trees also! LOL . .
    @ Sherry – That was the first picture that I captured and how I first saw the bird! Thanks
    @ Marg – thanks and because I know everyone will give me their suggestions! How else will I learn about what everyone likes!
    @ ScienceGuy – Did not and found the birds like this! I would have liked watching the Osprey carrying this fish!
    @ Samuel – thanks and love seeing new species!
    @ Tom – thanks and glad you like them! I didn’t crop them closer because I kinda liked seeing the power line in the picture!
    @ Threecollie – Yeah! Glad it said hellow!
    @ Bo – thanks and I think this is a common thing that the Osprey is catching more than everyone else!
    @ Shelley – thanks and many others like that one also!
    @ Caroline – Thanks and they are great for sure! Thanks and the black flies are the worse some times!
    @ Naturegirl – actually, that’s a telephone line not barbed wire! No worries and love visiting your site!
    @ Organticsyes – thanks and they sure do! Thanks and you are very kind!

    4 May 2008 at 10:45 pm

  31. Niiiiiiice.
    That’s one big-*ss fish. Yummy!
    I like the middle one the best.

    4 May 2008 at 11:02 pm

  32. Awesome that you got to see it so close and with prey! IMO the first shot has the best lighting, but I prefer the composition on the 2nd. If you climbed up about 20 feet so the horizon line is either out-of-frame or above the Osprey, the 3rd is the most pleasing background. The trees are a touch busy and the sky a bit plain. That said I’d be very happy to have captured any of the three shots! 🙂

    5 May 2008 at 10:55 am

  33. I’m voting for number two – beautiful shots by the way! Gorgeous!

    5 May 2008 at 9:29 pm

  34. I like them all Mon@rch! Is it normal for an osprey to sit that long with a fish or were you far enough away that it wasn’t disturbed by your presence?

    6 May 2008 at 9:25 am

  35. I like the first one the best. The osprey is quite good at catching fish.

    6 May 2008 at 4:52 pm

  36. Though a bit late ,I offer following opinions re photos. If the purpose is to show the bird to best advantage in a high quality photograph — rather than just a picture of a bird, then:

    # 1. Is so-so, probably poorest of the lot because bird is foreshortened and looks like a chicken. Background is distracting as is the pole wire.

    # 2. Best of the trio. good profile, shows charact- teristic field mark of long wings, Background sets off the bird. Bird large , feet spread,talon visible. Fish angle good. Slight upward shot focuses on height . Not a bad picture in all with lots of interesting detail.

    # 3. Good profile but crouching a bit. Too much pole and wire. Fish angle very poor so can not tell much about it.Bird with feet together. Background distracting. OK picture for 2 nd best of the series.

    6 May 2008 at 10:11 pm

  37. lvn600

    I like photo 2 best-the focus is purely on the bird itself. Sometimes I get discouraged when I see them because your worst photos are comparable to my best efforts.-Great shots!

    7 May 2008 at 8:34 pm

  38. Grace

    I like the number 2 shot best. That is a proud bird. I also agree that they are pretty cool carrying fish–head forward, for those of your readers who don’t know.

    7 May 2008 at 10:42 pm

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