The sky is deep summer blue with barely a ripple on the water as the sun begins its morning rise. Sitting high on the bare limbs of the salt washed bones of an old live oak on Blackrock Beach, it watches for signs of unsuspecting fish swimming in the ebbing tide. It is a perfect Osprey Dawn.
A fin breaks the surface as the mullet swims skimming the surface from below. One more thrust of its strong tail and the mullet leaps high into the morning air and makes a loud splash as it jumps for joy in the morning light. Its joy is short lived however as eight steel like claw talons suddenly wrap themselves around the fish and it is lifted swiftly out of the water. Wait! Wait! This is not where I am going today are the last thoughts of the mullet before going on an unplanned journey through life. The Osprey’s keen eyes had seen the fish a quarter of a mile away while soaring high over the river and circling in wait. Then it folds its wings and dives quickly upon the streaking shadow below. The rest is breakfast (for the Osprey).
Also called a “fish hawk”, the Osprey surely lives up to its common name. Fish are its favorite fare and this fowl was designed and perfected for such a task. Its unique diet of live fish, keen eyesight, and the ability to hover and dive quickly with outstretched talons grabbing the unsuspecting fish make it a formidable hunter and fisher. Brown feathers on the topside of the wings and mostly white underbelly mark this bird. The large yellowish orange eyes have a brown stripe across them. The talons are long, sharp, curved hooks, made for grabbing and quickly securing the fish for transport. Its unique prehensile rear talon allows it to carry the fish in a fore and aft position often seen. The mature females can be distinguished by a brown “necklace” of feathers around the base of the neck while the males are all white under the neck, breast, and armpits through the underside. Found throughout North America, it is a year round resident of the Broward.
I routinely see them coming up the river carrying fish nearly as big as the bird. Sometimes there are more than one fish in the talons. Recently I captured (at distance from the dock), an Osprey fish catch in progress. One day I hope to be underneath an Osprey as it dives and capture the interaction at the waters surface. Now that I have my new Wavewalk Kayak I can at least give it a try. Been getting some good shots lately from the Kayak on a few other birds too. You've received many remarkable nature photographs over this past year, but this photo of a nesting Falcon is perhaps the most remarkable nature shot that you’ve ever seen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Nature is truly breath-taking! In the meantime, you have a nice Osprey Dawn and a cup of coffee. And be glad you were not the breakfast. Be Blessed. Harry