Friday, July 8, 2011

OSPREYS: UNIQUE BIRDS OF PREY


Good morning bloggers! It's Phyllis again. Today I'm sharing some of my images taken while at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge in east central Florida. Merritt Island Refuge has more than five hundred species of birds and fifteen federally-listed endangered or threatened species living within the marshes and uplands surrounding the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon. It's a unique place to photograph because you can drive along the backroads and see interesting bird behaviors that you would normally not see. Many of the roads are unpaved and therefore birds feel free to wander around living their lives without fear of intruders.

Before beginning our trip, Jim and I stopped at the Visitor's Center, which I highly recommend. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and provide useful information like which areas are more likely to contain certain birds and when best to photograph them. Each visitor is provided with a booklet and map which identifies small signed areas for observation and specific information about the birds you will find. 

The refuge contains many walking trails for those who want explore the wildlife on foot. However, when you are carrying a variety of photographic equipment, it is sometime easier to travel by car. Merritt Island Refuge provides both. There are clearly designated routes for viewing by car and the most popular one is Black Point Wildlife Drive. It is important to note that many of these roads are unpaved. We drove our car through with little trouble but the tuffs of grass of each side of the path under the car scrape a bit when you drive so if your car is low, you may want to think of another vehicle.

During this trip, Jim and I traveled the dirt roads for sometime. We encountered groups of ibises, herons, egrets and Roseate spoonbills enjoying the quiet of the refuge and the communal sounds of nature. While on the path along West Gator Creek, I noticed a bird in a tree and quickly stopped. Jim knew immediately what the bird was but I needed my long lens to see it. When I brought my 80-400 lens to my eye, I was so excited....The bird was an osprey and it was eating a fish!!!

Ospreys are raptors or birds of prey. They weigh about two to four pounds and are about twenty-five inches long with a wingspan of four to six feet. The upper parts of their bodies are deep brown while the breast is white and sometimes streaked with brown while the underparts are pure white. The head is white with a dark mask across the eyes reaching to the sides of the neck. Ospreys have a short tail and long, narrow wings with four long finger-like feathers and a shorter fifth. Their bills are black and the feet are white with black talons.


Ospreys a great fish hunters but to actual see one eating was truly amazing!! I waited a short time before opening the car door to make sure I wouldn't disturb his meal. When it was clear he wasn't distracted, I took out my camera and began shooting. I stopped a few times just to enjoy the moment because I sometimes get so caught up in the shooting, that I forget to be part of the experience. This time, I made sure I did. Nature is such an important part of our lives but we often forget to appreciate its gifts. I hope you enjoy these images of the osprey while I leave you with this quote from Shakespeare in Act 4 Scene 5 of Coriolanus:

I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature.





18 comments:

Roy Durham said...

magnificent bird we get some around here they are great to watch fish' just they would let me catch the big ones. lol thank you and god bless

Team G Square said...

Awesome capture .

REBABO.com said...

wow, it's interesting
I like it

Bec Owen said...

Stunning photos, Phyllis! And I love the touch of Shakespeare :)

Alpana Jaiswal said...

Nice to see you here Phyllis..very informative,and as I feel,I have yet to learn so much..I loved the pictures also..

sukanya said...

stunning! as always!

melissa said...

Wow! A new bird specie for me. Thanks for the information and for what seems like luck, your images of the Osprey really gave justice to its title.

I loved your photos esp. the second one. Your shots were clear. The first one showed its features just as you had described them.

I love it when you said you wanted to be a part of the experience :)

Che meraviglia!

BlogNostics said...

You are totally cool Phyllis. These birds are amazing creatures. You have a sharp eye. Wonderful shots!

Rimly said...

They are so majestic! Beautiful pictures Phyllis.

Griefcase said...

Interesting informative article. Photographs are spectacular. I have been an admirer of the Osprey for three years when I first discovered them while boating on the Long Island Sound. Happiness is a view of an Osprey nest. Reading your article, viewing your photographs, brings me back to a blessed time in my life when water was a front and back yard. Thank you for sharing.

Linda Della Donna
Author of
"A Gift of Love, A Widow's Memoir"

JP Brandano Photography said...

Thank you to everyone for sharing your thoughts on these images. It's wonderful to have you enjoying these majestic creatures with me!!

Ravenmyth said...

Beautiful moment with these magnificent birds. Amazing that you caught the fish in the tree and the Osprey feeding. What a wonderful opportunity to capture this in the wild...without disturbing...

Jim said...

Ospreys are amazing birds. Your photos capture their beauty well.
Hi Jim, I not Networked Blogs have kicked me off your follower list, and as I'm up to the limit I cannot sign on again. Can you get a Google Friend follower gadget up so I can follow there?

Nelieta said...

What a beautiful bird! I love the photos!

fantacy in practicality said...

the pictures are so prominent Phyllis. i can even see the shinning brown feathers of the huge bird. eyes are very aggressive. catching a fish as a prey and consuming it, is shown so systematically step by step. loved the way you portrayed the total events.

Kriti said...

Hi Phyllis! That was truly awesome - you have got me all itchy to pack my travel knapsack : ) That bird is magnificent...
http://kriti-howaboutthis.blogspot.com

lakwatsera de primera said...

I've never seen an osprey before, this one reminds me of our very own Philippine Eagle.

FAYE said...

Weeeee. I think your camera has a magic am I right? Tell me the truth !!! Don't lie to me okay? Where did you buy your magic camera? XD

Your photos were awesome ! I like the reindeers. =p Feels like Christmas is coming ! =)