Monday, April 30, 2012

The transfer

As I described a few blogs ago, the male will bring the female osprey half of each fish he catches.  She gets the prime fillets while he gets the head and guts.  Not much of a bargain in my estimation, but thats the way it works.

The dock I shoot from has a regular four-foot-wide boardwalk out into deep water, but it also has a "patio" area on one side about half-way out where there is a nice wide (read "safe") area with a bench. Safety is a concern because, if I were to accidentally fall in, it is possible no one would know about it for the better part of a day.  All they might find is a camera, maybe not even that.  I can swim, but I also know that river can be treacherous - fully clothed or not.  Summer or winter.  When you are intently zeroed in on some hot action, losing track of where you are is not that difficult and it would be all too easy to end up too close to the edge.  So I try to stay aware at all times.

The reason I said all that is because from the nice patio area, all I can see of the box nest on the telephone pole is the very top over the surrounding trees.  But, if I move out to the end of the dock, I can get a better angle on the nest as well as get some idea of what the osprey might do next.  So, when I saw the male bringing the back half of the fish to the female a couple of days ago, I moved out to the end of the dock to be ready.

And it paid off.  Thinking about it, it probably isn't that unusual for the female to take the fish in her mouth and fly away.  While they are graceful in flight, they are rather clumsy when not.  (There are enough sticks on the ground at the foot of the nest, where they missed the nest, to build another.)  Clutching a fish while standing in the nest is probably not easily done.  Consider also that there may be several eggs and she wouldn't want to stumble into them and crack one. So, three times now, I have seen her leave the nest with the fish in her mouth and transfer it to her claws as she flies.  This time I was ready.

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