Montana Outdoors

April 12, 2008

Osprey 1

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Osprey, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — Tags: — montucky @ 8:10 pm

It is fairly easy to photograph these guys at or near one of the nesting platforms that have been built for them in some places. I’ve found though that it’s an entirely different matter to try to catch them while they’re over the river making their living!

Here are a few shots I’ve taken so far, and by learning from them I hope to be able to get some really good ones as the summer goes by. These were taken yesterday of a pair while they were fishing on the Clark Fork river near my house. They are extremely fast, and true aerialists! (Good fishers too: their diet is 99% fish!)









  1. incredible!!

    makes me think of those hawks we saw sniping bats…they were pretty good!


    Comment by silken — April 12, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  2. As I watch the Osprey soar, hover and dive, it’s as close as I can come to understanding what free flight would be like.


    Comment by montucky — April 12, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

  3. Oh wow!! Gorgeous photographs! Gorgeous birds too!


    Comment by Sara — April 12, 2008 @ 11:46 pm

  4. Yes, they are really pretty to watch, and their dives into the water are amazing. While I was trying to photograph these, one hit the water about 60 feet from me, but the whole thing was so fast I couldn’t get the camera into action.


    Comment by montucky — April 13, 2008 @ 7:32 am

  5. Aren’t these birds beautiful? I’ve seen them “fishing” off the coast of Maine … when they soar overhead, I think that they are among the more noticeable (among birds of prey) due to their coloring.

    I see, too, that your weather is as “fickle” as ours. I’m VERY happy to say, though, that we FINALLY will have a week with more sunshine and warmer temperatures than we’ve had in quite some time. I’ve been turning moldy, I’ve not seen this much moisture for such an extended period of time in years! Hooray for the sun!!!


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — April 13, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  6. You’ve captured quite an aerial ballet!

    Skilled sky-dancer meets skilled photographer!


    Comment by Pinhole — April 13, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

  7. Janet,

    I can watch the Osprey until they get tired or fill their limits, whichever happens first. I especially like it if I can get in a position where they are hovering almost right overhead.

    Our weather has been more fickle than usual. We had a nice day today, but temps in the 70’s feel very hot to us now. It will cool tomorrow I think back into the 50’s, but today it seemed as though all the plants grew at lest two inches. Our precipitation this year is the most since the winter of ’97-’97, and we’re very glad to have it!


    Comment by montucky — April 13, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  8. Pinhole,

    Their fishing habits do indeed create a ballet! The skill, however, all rests with the birds! On the surface one would think it an easy task to photograph them, but they are as quick as lightning and just as unpredictable. You wouldn’t think a bird with a 5 foot wingspan could be so agile and quick!


    Comment by montucky — April 13, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

  9. We have Ospreys near us too. Fabulous creatures.


    Comment by Business Forum — April 14, 2008 @ 1:38 am

  10. They are quite common and don’t mind living near people. There was a story in this morning’s Missoula paper about them and a study that is going on concerning their problems with water contamination, especially mercury levels. Since their diet is 99% fish from their local waters, they are a big indicator of water quality.


    Comment by montucky — April 14, 2008 @ 8:23 am

  11. Great shots! I’m hoping to get some pictures of some eagles this summer, and I’ll use these as inspiration.


    Comment by wolf — April 14, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  12. Fabulous shots Terry! Getting birds in flight are a trick but I have to say completely worth it. (Like I said to my son take the shot and if it fails we’ve got a recycle bin right on the desktop) However, for all your humility here you did really really great!


    Comment by aullori — April 14, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  13. Wolf,

    Good luck with the eagles. I’ve been trying for some shots of them, but a bird that can see its prey from 2 miles away isn’t easy to sneak up on!


    Comment by montucky — April 14, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

  14. Thanks, Lori!

    These guys are tough! They appear and disappear so quickly. Yes, thatk goodness for the recycle bin!


    Comment by montucky — April 14, 2008 @ 3:02 pm

  15. Amazing photographs. These birds are real beauties.


    Comment by Bo — April 14, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  16. They really are great to watch. Any time I can spend with them is time well spent! This photo session finished with a splash (literally) when one of the stars took a fifty foot plunge into the water about 100 feet from me and came back out with a good sized fish. It then flew upriver with (probably) a dinner for two.


    Comment by montucky — April 14, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  17. Wow. I can’t contribute anything more really. Others have beat me to it. Just know that I am thrilled by these photos. I love raptors.


    Comment by nouveaufauves — April 14, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

  18. If you love raptors, you’d really love these guys. It’s awesome just watching them hover and dive!


    Comment by montucky — April 14, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  19. So *THAT* is what those pale birds were at Elk City Resevoir! They are beautiful to watch.


    Comment by katkmeanders — April 15, 2008 @ 8:46 am

  20. Yes, they are great to watch, and their distribution is large enough that lots of folks get to see them.


    Comment by montucky — April 15, 2008 @ 8:59 am

  21. Always love seeing another’s photos of osprey. 🙂 Great shots! It was the osprey that got me into photography. And it was the osprey that got me into blogging. I love capturing all birds, but the osprey are my favorite!


    Comment by bayphotosbydonna — February 13, 2012 @ 9:59 am

    • I am looking forward to the return of our Ospreys in another couple of months. They nest a few miles up river from here, but they fish a mile-long riffle on the river just below our house that is very productive for them and we get to watch them fish nearly every day.


      Comment by montucky — February 14, 2012 @ 12:37 am

  22. Wonderful captures!


    Comment by orples — October 31, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

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