Please feel free to comment, correct me if I am wrong, or provide helpful tips of any kind

Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Mar 17, 2010


On the two occasions that I have seen Ospreys, both times I was on vacation.  I had seen pictures of this bird of course, as I was doing research on other birds, which allowed me to recognize it, but where I live one isn't likely to see one.  The first time I saw this magnificent bird, I was traveling toward various locations in Alaska.  We were on a cruise ship in the Golf of Alaska following the coastline which would lead us to Ketchikan, our first stop.  It was early morning, the sea was calm and it was a bright and sunny day, that was unexpectedly warm for the time of year we were traveling.

Osprey in flight

The brief glimpse I had of the Osprey, this time unfortunately did not afford me the opportunity to take pictures.  Of course at the time my attention was focused on the salmon jumping in the water near the ship, who were sending great splashes of water into the air. They were huge.  It made sense of course that I would see an Osprey  just as the salmon were jumping, as the Osprey's diet consists of fish, and it is therefore often mistakenly called a Fish Eagle.

The second time I saw an Osprey I was on vacation in the Caribbean at the port in St Thomas, our second stop on this trip.  I was sitting on deck by the pool just relaxing, after completing a shore excursion, and since I almost always have my eye on the sky, I spotted the bird as soon as it arrived in my field of view.  The Osprey was hunting the bay and in so doing was circling the cruise ship. Quite naturally, being on vacation, I still  had my camera equipment with me, which allowed me to take these pictures.  They are unfortunately not as good as I might have wished.  Still, I was excited when I recognized the bird and considered myself to be extremely lucky to get the pictures.

Ospreys are in a classification of raptor by themselves and have very specific physical adaptations designed for hunting fish.  Their nostrils are capable of closing, for example to prevent water from entering  when they stoop into the water after a fish.  They also have backward facing scales on their talons to help them grip a fish they have captured more efficiently.  To ensure that they are able to hang on to a fish that has been caught they have four toes, one of which is reversible.

Ospreys are easily recognizable in the sky by  it's white under parts and narrow wings, tipped with four "fingers".   Their wings are marked underneath by a large section of black and their back is dark while their head is white.  They also have dark patches on their cheeks to distinguish them from other raptors.

Osprey wings spread

 These birds are global, meaning that they are seen world wide, not just in the western hemisphere of the planet.  They are usually seen around bodies of water, be it rivers, lakes or sea shores. For a better view of this bird, or if you wish to learn more about  it please follow these links:



No comments:

Post a Comment