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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Jul 27, 2010

Osprey: my greatest surprise and joy

Osprey taking off
First of all I must retract a statement I made in an earlier post.  Apparently I made a huge mistake when I stated in my post on Ospreys that I was unlikely to see this magnificent bird of prey here in the city.  Ospreys apparently dwell in almost every corner of the world, and if  I would have paid more attention to my research I would have realized that they also reside here in Alberta.  Indeed they have been known to reside near urban areas as long as their nests are not disturbed, although not necessarily in this city.  But let me tell you, it was both the biggest surprise and the greatest joy to find out just how mistaken I was.

Osprey clutching prey
It was also exciting. Just like when you think you failed an exam and then discover you actually passed the same exam with  98 %.

So here is how I found my mistake.  Early in the morning yesterday, before work, I stopped at the bank to withdraw some cash and then decided to check out the pond behind the bank to see if there were any new birds for me to take pictures of.  I haven't had much time recently for birdwatching as I was in the process of moving, and was just then feeling tired and more than a little stressed.  Bird watching never fails to relax me, which was why I decided to spend a little time at the pond.

I was only part of the way through the parking lot when I spotted a huge bird in the sky circling the pond.  I didn't have my glasses on and at that moment couldn't really make out much about the bird, but I recognized that it was different by his long narrow wings and the way he flew.  And so, my camera was out of the camera bag and trained on the bird before I really even thought about it.

Osprey in the distance
Now this little pond actually has some fairly large fish swimming in it, mostly gold fish that someone released in there quite some time ago.  These fish are apparently thriving in the pond, and after taking several pictures of what, by now, I suspected to be an Osprey,  I realized that he had caught a fish in the pond and was looking for a perch somewhere to enjoy his catch.

In order for me to recognize that the Osprey was carrying a fish, it has to be quite large, because even though the camera lens sort of makes up for my lack of glasses when I zoom in, it doesn't quite replace them. Then there is the fact that an Osprey has a six foot wingspan and huge talons, which as you can see clearly if you enlarge the images above, surround the fish but not in such a way that they are stretched.  Seeing him clutching the fish also confirmed quite nicely that I was indeed looking at an Osprey, because they feed almost exclusively on fish.

Osprey wings spread wide

Osprey in flight

 I hadn't realized that the fish in this pond were quite that large, but that fact must have been what attracted the Osprey to the pond in the first place. Needless to say I was thrilled and excited, and couldn't wait to get home to see my pictures.  My day, following the sighting of the Osprey, went smoothly and well.  It was as if, seeing the Osprey, was a gift to me from the universe which carried the message that no matter how much you have on your plate there is still joy to be found, and this helped to relax me immensely.  LOL and maybe the universe was laughing at me just a little.

If you wish to learn more about this beautiful bird just follow the links below:


An added treat, live web cam:  view of an Osprey nest with chicks:



Jul 4, 2010

Flowers and Birds: attracting birds to your garden

I wanted to do something different for a change and since I know that most species of birds depend on flowers to survive, weather for seed or nectar, I decided to share some pictures and information on flowers.  Holly hock, the flower on the  left for instance, will bring Humming birds to your yard if you plant them.  If you a privileged enough to own a house, you have off course much more choice in the types of flowers you can plant to attract and help feed the birds.  However, even if you rent and /or have limited space, there are flowers you can plant in flower boxes that will help birds, both in winter and summer.