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Where We Live by John Silveira and Richard Blunt. Photos and commentary from Oregon and New England.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Archive for June 22nd, 2012

 

Ospreys in Oregon, Part 5

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

In my last post, I submitted photos of an osprey that missed a catch. Later, while going through my photos, I found a sequence where an osprey caught a fish. (I’m taking about 7,000 photos a month including what I take in burst mode, so I often don’t find some of the good ones until I laboriously go through them.) This is going to be my longest post to date with at least two poor quality photos, the third and fifth in the sequence, but they show some important things. The sequence you’ll see played out in mere seconds.

When I was shooting them, I had preset the shutter speed and f-stop and, of course, this lens is a prime, so it’s a constant 400mm. But I let the camera set the ISO speed, so it’s the one variable. Also, these are all crops from larger photos.

Here goes.

Like most flying birds, ospreys fly with their legs against their bodies because it improves their aerodynamics. In the first photo, the osprey has already started its dive and its legs and talons are extended.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 100     focal length 400mm

 

The osprey is getting closer to the water, so it’s legs and talons are coming forward.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 100     focal length 400mm

 

This photo is blurry and I wouldn’t ordinarily include one like this because of that, but I want you to see that the bird’s feet have been brought forward. Ospreys go into the water talons first.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 160     focal length 400mm

 

In this photo, the osprey has plunged through the water’s surface. Part of its right wing is showing and, as you see in the next two photos, it’s becomes completely submerged. It can pull fish from as deep as three feet under water (and maybe a little bit deeper).

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 400mm

 

You can see one of its wings breaking the surface.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 400mm

 

Its head has broken back though the surface along with the tops of both wings. What you’ve got to know is that, although fish make up 99% of an osprey’s diet, unlike pelicans, ducks, geese, swans, cormorants, and many other “water birds,” they cannot swim. In fact, if an osprey’s feathers become waterlogged, they drown. So this guy has to get out of the water quickly.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 400mm

 

In this and the next four photos, the osprey is using its powerful wings to pull itself out of the water.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 400mm

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 160     focal length 400mm

 

I’ve read that ospreys are successful on less than 25 percent of their dives and, from what I’ve seen, it’s no doubt true. But in this and the remaining photos, as the osprey breaks clear of the water, you can see it’s got a fish in its talons.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 160     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 160     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 160     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 160     focal length 400mm

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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