Sunday, 23 May 2010

Day 132: Osprey!

We went on a day trip to a wildlife reserve called Loch of the Lowes where there is a breeding pair of ospreys.  They are across the loch from the hides but through the provided spotting scopes you get a really good view of them and they have a camera trained on the nest so you can watch the chicks in the nest on monitors.  They have 2 chicks and one still to hatch so mum is sitting on the nest looking after them and dad is tasked with all the fishing.  I have only once before seen an osprey catch a fish and it was at the other end of the loch and rather unclear.  This time it was right in front of the nest and within reach of my camera.  I was so unbelievably excited - he just dived off the tree he was sitting in, there was a big splash and then he flapped himself up and airborne again - and I have the whole sequence!

Unfortunately when I say within reach of my camera I do mean at 300mm and then zoomed in digitally on the computer too but it is still clearly an Osprey catching a fish.  I chose the one above because he was that bit closer, clearer because the background was water instead of reeds, you can see detail in his colouring, the fingers at the end of his wings and the fish he is clutching in his talons.  I do lament the fact that I didn't have the extra 100mm or so to get clearer shots but the fact is that the longer the lens the less light it lets in so the shots might well have been too slow to avoid blur and I might not have been able to follow him so well as they are so big and unwieldy.  I am so pleased I got to see him fishing right there in front of us and the photos are fantastic - so much better than I could have hoped for.

Of course it's sod's law that several awesome things all happen in one day and then nothing will happen for days, that on one day you get a ton of awesome pictures and then struggle for ideas and anything decent for days.  Today I also saw a baby dipper sitting across the river from me and being fed by one of it's parents at regular intervals, a jay, red squirrels, great spotted woodpeckers and a brilliant wooden bench (I might post pictures of that on DA at some point).  Below are the baby dipper and the woodpecker.  I don't suppose I will see a baby dipper again in a while since it's hard enough to see an adult because they don't sit still, and woodpeckers aren't so easy to photograph at the best of times and this one has a beak full of insects.  Again, they are zoomed in on and cropped but I don't care.  Sometimes photos are fantastic because of what they contain, rather than the quality, and the memories associated with them.

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