Spring season signals the time has come for birds to congregate, court, mate, nest, and raise their young. The osprey are no different. For me, spring also signals that a return trip to Blue Cypress Lake is in order. This year I met up with some friends, bright and early, to try to capture the essence of this gorgeous place, as well as the wonderful osprey.
We got out on the water just in time for the sun to begin to emerge on the horizon. This year, the wind was quite strong and thus the water choppy at times. Didn’t make much of a difference though at sunrise. Yes, it’s going to be a fabulous day!Our first juvenile osprey was spotted … as it waited patiently for its parents to return. The young osprey are easy to differentiate from the adults by that orange eye, versus the yellow eyes of its parents.There was a plethora of activity going on that morning. Some of the osprey were sitting on nests … some were reinforcing their nests … some were out fishing … some were out learning to fly … some were defending their “air space”. This fabulous osprey was multi-tasking bring ing back both nesting materials and dinner to its nest. LOLOf course, there were more than osprey hanging out in the lake. Always fascinating to watch, photograph, and listen to, were the black-bellied whistling-ducks. When they take flight overhead, you quickly realize where they got that name from.To give you a perspective of the nests, which number in the hundreds, and the beauty in which they exist, take a look at this image. Gorgeous cycpress trees, filled with spanish moss, are the settings for the nests. Talk about a room with a view … :-).There were so many osprey flying around that I had a bit of difficulty figuring out which osprey to follow. I know, it’s a good problem to have.Talons on predator birds have long captured my fascination. When an osprey launches into the air and those talons get exposed, it’s a moment that I anticipate hugely, as I try to perfect that exact moment.As you can tell, many of the nests are nice and low, which offer the photographer a great view at the occupants of the nests. Notice those orange eyes … juvenile or adult? Juvenile of course. I absolutely love their feather markings too. Much darker and distinct.On this particularly windy day, the birds were fairly predictable in their flight pattern, as birds will always take off and land into the wind.Taking advantage of the wind, they flew around quite a bit, almost taunting the others to take chase.Many times, we witnessed attacks inflight, though often they were just having fun.This juvenile osprey had been flying around the lake a bit and was coming for a landing. I love this “orchestra conductor” pose, as they extend out their wings and obtain full feather benefit in helping them to slow down as they approach their landing.Once again, those gorgeous talons extend as they pick their favorite branch to land on.Not sure how many osprey were out there flying around, but safe to say it was far more than I could photograph. Some flew high, some flew low, all were gorgeous inflight and exhillerating to watch.This young one returns to the nest.Following right behind it was the parent landed right behind it. Notice the yellow eyes.As beautiful as the adult osprey are, it’s the juveniles that get my pulse racing. Again, it’s not just osprey … we saw anhingas, woodpeckers, sandhill cranes, ibis, wood storks, herons, etc. Here’s another visitor … the red-shoulder hawk, which posed nicely on top of the tree for us.While looking for other birds, we happened to find this beautiful black-crowned night heron. Love that red eye!OK, any image that has both talons and all of this feather details and fluff is considered to be super special in my book.The only thing that it was missing was that gorgeous orange eye. Yes, we sure were treated to an amazing air show. 🙂Yes, this is the true natural Florida … as it was … as it wish that it could be everywhere again. At least, I know, that there are still places that I can go in Florida to get simple moments like this. 🙂Hope that everyone enjoyed.
Next up: More burrowing owls
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