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Thursday, 18 February 2010 23:30

Florida 2010 – IV – Osprey, Florida`s fisher



When I made a list of articles in which I would like to present my pictures from Florida trip, I came to a point of which bird should I call a “fisher”? – Osprey or Pelican that usually acts as a fisher in animated movies and that can be seen everywhere in Florida skimming above the water and rushing down to catch the fish prey? It was Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) at the end, the elegant raptor that patrols high above the water to suddenly dive for a fish below. And it was not only the way Osprey catches the fishes but also his hit rate that made me call him a fisher. It might as well be that the Florida`s waters are so rich in fishes that the Ospreys are so successful but that does not spoil my view of Osprey as one of the best hunters you can see at the coast of Florida.




I remember our first encounter with Osprey in Canada in 2008 – after we spotted one bird sitting 1D3_0053PSon the power pole I stopped the car and with an excitement I made few very bad shots of this raptor to have at least some decent record of it. The other days I realized that my excitement was not necessary – in the part of British Columbia we have been at that time, the man-made Osprey posts were so abundant along the roads that we had to stop almost every kilometre to satisfy my photographic passion. Even though I realized later that Osprey is one of the most approachable birds of prey thanks to its way of life, I did not expect that photographing Osprey in Florida would be so easy though!





Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Fort Desoto:



You san see Osprey almost on every spot with good conditions for fishing In Florida – good conditions means a water of sufficient extent and clear enough for Osprey to see and catch the fish. It is always worth to watch the sky above anytime you are on the beach – Osprey can appear suddenly from anywhere and show you some of its fishing mastery just few tens of meters in front of you! The best places to spot Osprey are as well the places where other sea birds flock attracted by the wealth of food in the water.




1D3_0260PS One such a place is e.g. the beach at Fort Desoto Island – the ospreys are fishing relatively close to the coast and wide open beaches gives the watcher a good overview of what is going on above so you should not miss a bird! Photographing Osprey might as well be very nice activity – after an early morning shooting of waders on the beach when the sun raises its power and the strong direct light starts to cast unpleasant shadows, I set up the camera to SERVO and watch two birds whirling high above the sea level. When any of them descends lower it is the highest time to get ready and get the bird into the track and focus because the sudden attack can come anytime! It is useless to point out that getting the bird into focus with your 500mm lens during his fast fishing action is almost impossible! If you keep tracking the birds for few hours – and it is not vary hard work :-) - you will certainly have at least one chance to make a picture of fishing Osprey!




Sometimes you can be lucky to spot Osprey with its prey on a perch – it is most often a branch or an old trunk of a tree – it is always worth to check these spots from time to time as those are the bird`s favourite places where he returns regularly during the day. Two such places were on Fort Desoto Island bur the birds are rather shy here and do not let you closer than some 15 – 20 meters. It was quite opposite experience when I was watching Osprey with a fish in a small Bowditch Pointe park in the northernmost tip of Fort Myers Beach – I could come right to the tree where the bird was feeding without any sign the bird would feel disturbed by my presence.


Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Bowditch Pointe, Fort Myers Beach:



It is very convenient to learn the Osprey`s call – I took my lesson in J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge at Sanibel Island where the strange shrill noise attracted my attention and made me stop the car to explore the nearby bushes. While I was chasing for the Woodpecker – the supposed call owner – the call sounded again from behind the bushes. It was not that Woodpecker, it was Osprey sitting some 15 meters from me and showing up and stretching itself thus making a great pose for my camera…


Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), J.N. Ding Darling Park, Sanibel Island:




List of relevant articles about Florida

Florida 2010 – I – Anhinga, the snakebird

Florida 2010 – II – Pelican the bomber

Florida 2010 – III – Wakodahatchee, all in one

Florida 2010 – V – Waders – not a simple task!

Florida 2010 – VI – Florida`s woodpeckers

Florida 2010 – VII – J.N.D. Darling and chilly tropics

Florida 2010 – VIII – Little Estero Lagoon

Vultures of southern USA

Florida 2010 – IX – Sebastian Inlet State Park

Human – a friend or enemy?

Florida X - Egrets and Herons

Florida XI – close-up

Florida XII – Fort Desoto

Florida XIII – some more birds

Birds of Florida - Portfolio (article)

Portfolio - birds of Florida (photos)



Last Updated on Thursday, 27 January 2011 17:51
Comments (45)


  • Jiri Slama

    Thanks a lot Alessandro! Florida is magnificent!!! You must go there one day...

  • Luboš Kadeřávek

    Ta poslední fotka se zvednutými křídly je fakt bezvadná! Moc se mi líbí moment a hlavně kompozice.Luboš

  • Jiri Slama

    Diky moc Lubosi! Take se mi libi nejvice, mam jeste jednu s jeste vice protazenymi kridly ale koncova pera jsou mirne usekla, pokusim se to nekdy doretusovat - nemam to rad ale ta fotka za to stoji!

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    Ahoj Jirko, mě se jako obvykle, moc líbí všechny tvé "amatérské" fotky, Orlovce nevyjímaje.Se zájmem jsem si přečetl i doprovedný text. Jen jsem se nikde nedočetl jak je velký, jaké má rozpětí křídel. Z fotek je nepoměřitelný. Mějte se s Eliškou krásně.

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    Ahoj Milo, dekuju moc! Mas pravdu, ani ja presne nevim jak ve velky a myslel jsem, ze patri ke stredne velkym dravcum...wikipedie mi ale prozdarila, ze je ca 60 cm dlouhy a rozpeti ma az 2 m tedy docela macek!!!

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    Opravdu pěkná práce.
    Těším se až pokecáme.

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    krásne to stvorenia ... a ete lepsejsie fotecky ... uvidime sa za mesiac :)

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    Ahoj Pali, uz se na Texel tesim, lakaji me i Motaci kteri by meli hnizdit v blizkosti pristaviste trajektu, videl jsem par opravdu povedenych fotek...

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