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Osprey

Osprey looks ready to rip apart the photographer

If looks could kill then I suspect I wouldn’t be typing this right now. 😉 This male Osprey had finished a fresh fish delivery to its spouse at their nest and then landed on a nearby pole. Shaking off the morning chill and recent rain, it set to spend a good deal of time stretching and preening.

While it appears the raptor might be a bit perturbed with having a camera pointed at it, in reality it didn’t mind me one bit and largely ignored me. This image was taken just as it finished scratching itself and was settling in to keep watch. Nevertheless, the intensity of that stare and those talons certainly make it look quite intimidating!

An Osprey looks deadly serious. (© Tony’s Takes)

An Osprey looks deadly serious. (© Tony’s Takes)

Osprey on patrol for a meal

This beautiful raptor was circling over a pond and I was lucky enough to witness it plunge into the water a few times in an attempt to catch a fish. On the last attempt it was successful but unfortunately facing the opposite direction from me so those pictures are not great.

These raptors are actually a type of a hawk. Making them a bit unique is that they almost exclusively live near water and dine on fish. Aiding them in their ability to catch fish is an unusual reversible outer toe that allows them to get a better grasp from behind in addition to the front. When fishing, they will oftentimes hover above their prey then dive straight into the water. I shared a video a couple of days ago showing this if you want to check it out.

An Osprey patrols a Longmont, Colorado pond looking for breakfast.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An Osprey patrols a Longmont, Colorado pond looking for breakfast. (© Tony’s Takes)

Osprey takes flight head on

A very fun picture taken this past weekend at St. Vrain State Park, Colorado.

There are a number of Osprey that spend their summers in the area and this was the male of a pair that is nesting within the park. He was happily perched in a tree near the nest when he decided it was time to go fishing. Thankfully I was ready and snapped this image as he headed right toward me.

Due to the compression effect of using a very long telephoto lens it makes it appears I was quite close when in reality I wasn’t. I love the intense look of those golden eyes coupled with the blue skies and some wispy, low clouds behind. Many of the females are already sitting on the nests with their clutch beneath them. In another few weeks little ones will begin emerging.

A male Osprey flies head on at the viewer in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Osprey flies head on at the viewer in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Male Osprey makes poor attempt at nest building

Well, guys can kind of be jerks when they are forced to do something they don’t want to. I have to wonder if that isn’t why this male Osprey made such a poor attempt at adding to his and his mate’s nest.

He returned with a clump of grass but rather than landing with it like they normally do, he chose to just toss it toward the nest. The result? The grass clump only hits the edge of the nest and falls apart. Somehow I suspect his spouse was less than impressed.

Scroll down to view the complete sequence of the nest building fail.

A male Osprey tosses grass toward his and his mate's nest in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Osprey tosses grass toward his and his mate’s nest in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Osprey work on making a home

Having returned to Colorado over the past couple of weeks, the Osprey are wasting no time getting their home ready for little ones.

At his particular nest in Longmont, Colorado this past weekend, mama was busy fetching new building material and meticulously putting it in place. Dad? Well, he was sitting in a nearby tree dining on fish watching the lady do the work. 😉

Scroll down to view the complete sequence of a female Osprey adding to her nest.

A female Osprey returns to her nest in Longmont, Colorado with a stick. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Osprey returns to her nest in Longmont, Colorado with a stick. (© Tony’s Takes)

Osprey displays a bit of attitude

So this is how the conversation went…

Me: I am so glad you’re back!
Osprey: Yeah, good for you. Now back off!

😉

The ?Osprey? have returned to Colorado for the season and I could not be happier. I was very anxious to go pay some of them a visit so I broke away from family Easter festivities for a bit Sunday morning for a quick photo session.

All of the ?nests? that I have historically seen active already had these cool hawks on them. All were pairs except this guy (or gal) was alone at its nest while I was there.

He was willing to tolerate my presence but, unfortunately, it refused to finish its meal while I was there (note the fish in its talons). I did manage some awesome captures of this one and the others so will be sharing more for sure.

An Osprey displays a bit of attitude toward the photographer in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

An Osprey displays a bit of attitude toward the photographer in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Coming soon – Osprey

The one bird I am probably looking most forward to returning this spring is this majestic, large hawk.

Osprey are incredibly entertaining to watch and surprisingly tolerant of people making them great for watching and photographing. Some were spotted this past weekend north of the Denver area, a bit earlier than normal.

Looking back, it appears the last couple of years I captured my first images of them during the first week of April. They spend their winters on the coasts of Mexico and South America so have a pretty long journey to make to get to their summer homes.

This particular female was fishing near Longmont, Colorado back in August.

A female Osprey in flight in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Osprey in flight in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Wet Osprey looks none too pleased

I’m not sure if he was upset because he was wet or if he was mad because he got wet fishing and came up empty clawed. This gorgeous male Osprey had just made a failed attempt at catching breakfast back in August and didn’t seem too pleased that his lack of fishing prowess was captured on film. 😉

I was sitting here this morning thinking about how it won’t be long before these gorgeous raptors return to Colorado for the summer. Looking back, the past couple of years I have first spotted them around the end of March / first part of April. Not far off at all.

A male Osprey dries out after going fishing in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Osprey dries out after going fishing in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Juvenile Osprey enjoys its breakfast

I was surprised to find this pretty lady hanging out at a lake on Saturday.  By now most Osprey have started their annual trip to their winter grounds in Mexico and South America.  This young one apparently missed her flight or has decided the cooler seasonal weather here in Colorado isn’t so bad.  After catching a fish from the lake, she did a nice flyby as if to show it off then landed in a tree and dined.

A juvenile Osprey flies by with a fish it just caught. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Osprey flies by with a fish it just caught. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Osprey flies by with a fish it just caught. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Osprey flies by with a fish it just caught. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Osprey keeps close watch as it eats breakfast. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Osprey keeps close watch as it eats breakfast. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Osprey eats a fish. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Osprey eats a fish. (© Tony’s Takes)