How many of you remember the lyrics of the epic 1966 Stevie Wonder hit, “A Place In The Sun”? Ok, give up? Here is the first two stanzas:
“Like a long lonely stream
I keep runnin' towards a dream
Movin' on, movin' on
Like a branch on a tree
I keep reachin' to be free
Movin' on, movin' on
'Cause there's a place in the sun
Where there's hope for ev'ryone
Where my poor restless heart's gotta run
There's a place in the sun
And before my life is done
Got to find me a place in the sun”
Blue Cypress Lake is such a place for the Osprey population of southern Florida. It is located about 23 miles west of Vero Beach in Indian River County Florida. This 6,555-acre pristine lake marks the headwaters of the St Johns River, which flows north all the way to Jacksonville and Mayport Florida before entering the Atlantic Ocean. There is only one commercial venture on the lake, the infamous Middleton’s Fish Camp, where I stayed and met some great folks and fellow photographers from North Carolina. There are no locks on the doors there either. Local Fish and Wildlife personnel have counted over 220 mating pair of Osprey on the lake this year. It seemed every other tree on the shoreline had an Osprey nest in it. My photographer instructor and boat guide is a well-known professional wildlife biologist by the name of Ron Bielefeld who runs Whistling Wings Photography workshops and tours.
This time of year the female Osprey are mainly sitting on the eggs incubating them while the male stands guard close by and brings an occasional fish snack to share with her (often minus the head). The Ospreys were also observed bringing fresh moss and sticks to the nest sites. Ron showed me the western side of the lake in his well-equipped photographers pontoon boat. It was a beautiful morning with a slight breeze that kept the mosquitos at bay. Ron is very careful not to disturb the nesting Ospreys. I had a magical morning trying to capture the beauty of these magnificent raptors as they proudly guarded and nurtured their future generation. We did see one nest with chicks already hatched. Soon there will be hundreds more.
I apologize for the quality of some of the photos, I was trying out one of Canon’s larger prime lenses (500mm F4 Mk II). It was heavy and difficult to hand hold and track the Osprey but I managed to capture a few keepers. Hope you enjoy this “Place in the Sun”. Can’t wait to see my "Place in the Son" someday. Be Blessed. Harry