A fight over a fish
The pair of Ospreys who summer on the Castle Junction bridge’s nest raised two chicks through adolescence this year. When I spent a day watching them in August that meant there were four of these raptors, now all very close to the same size, interacting with one another on and around the bridge area. Flying, fishing, chasing and fighting over fish dominated the moments of action amid a lot of time spent perching over the river up in the trees that line that stretch of the Bow River.
I spied this Osprey when it alighted on a weathered log with a freshly caught meal. By the time I walked a few hundred metres so that I was directly across the river from the bird, it was no longer alone. Ospreys have excellent vision, roughly twice the distance capabilities of humans, so it was no surprise that company arrived quickly. Another Osprey landed close by, shrilly announcing its arrival and crying out for a share of the sushi. The successful fisher had no interest in sharing and resisted all advances from the other to do so.
Over the next four hours, I watched this bird defend its prize from sneaky grabs for a scrap, frustrated attacks, a couple of near dive-bombs and outright theft! Throughout, the Osprey nibbled away on the fish – whether another bird was nearby or not. The other Osprey never ganged up on their family member but I’m pretty sure two of the three made individual advances.
With the repeated flybys the interloping Ospreys gave me some great opportunities for in flight shots that were interesting and new for my library. The low to ground shots in particular.
The birds were aware of my presence, I didn’t blend in with the rocks on the shoreline. I didn’t move around much and, with the river between us, I felt confident that I was not impacting their behaviour and so I enjoyed the opportunity to watch the family dynamics play out.
Several times the Osprey clutched the fish in one talon and looked to be getting ready to fly. That didn’t happen – the bird didn’t stray more than a couple of metres from the log and stayed on it for most of the time. That made me suspect this was an adolescent with little experience flying with fish but given the size, and the fact that it had caught the fish in the first place, I’m definitely not sure.
Steadily the Osprey worked away on dinner, despite the numerous distractions, and finally finished all but the smallest scraps. Shortly after finishing the Osprey flew off down the river. It flew across my sight line affording me a nice flight series – a fun little reward after four hours crouching among the rocks. I watched it all the way back to the nest where it few around a couple of times before I lost sight of it. I hiked back to the bridge and came back to the shoreline a short stone’s throw from the Ospreys new perch. Again, it took note of me and then continued looking down the river and up at the nest. Several minutes went by before the bird launched and flew up to the nest.
Incredible images, absolutely stunning.
September 22, 2016 at 3:45 pm
Great series of photos Christopher, bringing us right into the action. It amazes me how you find these periods of magic in the wild ~ trait of a talented photographer. Cheers to a great day ahead.
September 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm
great pics of the osprey
September 19, 2016 at 6:04 am
Wonderful and beautiful scene
September 17, 2016 at 5:56 am
Very nice picture story, Chris!
September 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm
September 16, 2016 at 10:17 am
Thank you Svetlana. I hope you are well!
September 19, 2016 at 1:37 pm
September 16, 2016 at 9:18 am
Reblogged this on clawingmywayin and commented:
Beautiful pics of osprey
September 16, 2016 at 9:17 am
There was still one osprey at the nest on Sept 13. It seemed to be waiting rather than looking for fish, and it made a few soft calls from time to time. Perhaps it was hoping that a parent might be willing to feed it, but over the next hour the bird didn’t move and no other osprey appeared. Next day, it was gone.
September 16, 2016 at 7:40 am
September 16, 2016 at 6:44 am
September 16, 2016 at 3:34 am
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Wow great shots
September 16, 2016 at 2:17 am
September 16, 2016 at 2:01 am
Wonderful and beautiful scene
September 16, 2016 at 1:37 am
Thank you Claire
September 16, 2016 at 7:00 am
September 16, 2016 at 12:50 am
What a wonderful spectacle to witness. They’re all amazing shots, that last one is particularly stunning.
September 16, 2016 at 12:47 am
Thank you Miriam. It was a really good day 😄
September 16, 2016 at 7:01 am
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