Montana Outdoors

March 6, 2010


Filed under: Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:59 pm

Railroad bridge over the Clark Fork

This railroad bridge over the Clark Fork River gets quite a bit of traffic, and yet the Ospreys seem to tolerate it to build their huge nest (more visible atop the center section of the bridge in the second photo) in a location certainly secure from predators. I don’t think the phrase “be quiet, don’t wake the baby” applies there though.

Railroad bridge over the Clark Fork


  1. That is so beautiful – Wonderful Shots !!!


    Comment by epicswife — March 6, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  2. Oh, my goodness, definitely not a quiet place to raise a family. But I’m sure it is very safe–as long as the babies don’t fall out of the nest and get run over by the train. Beautiful photos!


    Comment by kateri — March 7, 2010 @ 8:44 am

    • They seem to do well. There is an osprey nest on just about every one of these bridges and they are used every year. The trains are quieter than they used to be by far, but still, that nest is pretty close.


      Comment by montucky — March 7, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

  3. Great composition in the first shot. The lines lead you right in to the scene. Outstanding work. I’d love to see it when everything is in bloom.


    Comment by Jeff Lynch — March 7, 2010 @ 10:10 am

    • Thanks Jeff. There should be wild roses on those bushes and it will be pretty.


      Comment by montucky — March 7, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

  4. Hope the vibration from the trains doesn’t dislodge the nest.


    Comment by Cedar — March 7, 2010 @ 10:47 am

    • It doesn’t seem to. Those nest are huge, around 3 feet across. They reuse them from year to year. The sites are really quite good, with the relative safety of the bridge and plenty of fish just outside their doors.


      Comment by montucky — March 7, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

  5. Wow! Excellent shots! The compositions of both photos I like because they show expansive height. Of all places for Ospreys to build a huge nest as it seems the noise of the train and the winds up there would be rattling! Gosh… gorgeous country. I’d like to see these shots again come full spring.


    Comment by Anna Surface — March 7, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

    • This is near the start of a trail that I do plan to hike next summer and I will try to remember to get a shot then. It was so interesting that we both posted trestle shots at about the same time! I sure liked the sky in yours!


      Comment by montucky — March 7, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  6. Great shots!! I like you DOF. And leading lines. Even the trail leads us on to the water. Great composition, lighting and colors. This one section of the river I’ve not been over. Great capture.


    Comment by Iona — March 7, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

    • The highway is on the other side of the river. To get to this side one can cross at a highway bridge a couple miles upstream and walk down this side. About here a trail (USFS Trail 1714) starts up and comes out on top of Patrick’s Knob at 7,000 feet. It’s very hard to find and not marked, but that day I found it. Can’t go all the way up yet because of the snow up higher, but I will later in the summer.


      Comment by montucky — March 8, 2010 @ 12:25 am

  7. Failed to add, right after we moved to N. Idaho (1998), I noticed that some Canadian Geese had decided to make their nest in the Eagle’s nest atop the utility pole. I asked a friend: I always thought Geese nest on the ground near a body of water. Why were these atop the pole, and how were the babies to get down to the water below? I was told they simply plopped out of the nest. And if they survived, that was okay. I really was perplexed. Why would a goose do that? Yet, apparently they had been doing just that long before I ever discovered them.


    Comment by Iona — March 7, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

    • That’s interesting! I haven’t seen geese nest that high, but there was a family last summer in a nest atop a huge rock in the middle of the river at the head of a rapids, the top being about 10 feet above the river. I suppose the goslings would just jump off there too, but they would land in the water and that shouldn’t be much of a problem.


      Comment by montucky — March 8, 2010 @ 12:28 am

  8. Hi Terry – thanks for the kind words on my blog… love your pictures. There’s some trestles not too far from where I live. I love driving by them and seeing all the nature around them.


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — March 7, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

    • I find the trestles interesting although I have quite mixed emotions about the railroads. I appreciate how energy efficient they really are compared to other types of transportation, but from their inception the railroad companies have been very arrogant and uncaring. They were given great wealth in real estate early in their existence and I’m not at all convinced that they have returned equal value to the nation that gave them so much.


      Comment by montucky — March 8, 2010 @ 12:49 am

  9. Awesome shots, such a pretty sky and nice composition. Huge nests!


    Comment by Candace — March 8, 2010 @ 12:46 am

    • Thanks Candace. Yes, the nests are huge, but the birds are large too and when the chicks start getting big, even those nests look crowded. I love seeing the birds, and if those locations work well for them, then all the better, I think.


      Comment by montucky — March 8, 2010 @ 12:51 am

  10. Yes, the railroad bridge is mighty looking and probaly presenting “near history”, I suppose. Yout nice photo is honoring this bridge.


    Comment by sartenada — March 8, 2010 @ 3:19 am

    • There are many of these crossing our rivers, and most of the ones in this area are undergoing major repairs, particularly on their supporting columns. There is a resurgence in rail cargo and these will likely be in service for many more years.


      Comment by montucky — March 8, 2010 @ 9:28 am

  11. They’d rather nest on a trestle than a tree top? Evolution?


    Comment by Bo Mackison — March 8, 2010 @ 7:59 am

    • Where they have the choice, apparently yes. Of course, throughout the area there aren’t all that many trestles, but most have nests. I’m sure it’s much easier to build a nest on an open, flat place right over the water where such is available. I’m a bit surprised though that they can tolerate the trains, but they do.

      My favorite Osprey nest though is in the top of a huge Ponderosa pine that was struck by lightning many years ago. It’s way off the highway and I visit it every year: it’s always occupied.


      Comment by montucky — March 8, 2010 @ 9:35 am

  12. The ospreys are probably used to the rail traffic. Plus, they have a good vantage point for fishing.



    Comment by knightofswords — March 8, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    • I think the proximity to the trout is what got the tradition going. I’ve also noticed that the birds who live on the trestles have less fear of other vehicles and people. Or they’ve lost their hearing.


      Comment by montucky — March 8, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

  13. we have lots of nests in the power line towers behind our house. they are tall but nowhere as noisy as the train bridge!


    Comment by silken — March 9, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    • Interesting. I would think the trestle is safer for them. They have very large wing spans.


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 8:49 pm

  14. Cool shots, I imagine it would make for a great nest for the birds, if they can handle the noise !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — March 12, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

    • They seem to handle it just fine, although it’s hard to imagine. I see one of the nests quite often and it’s always occupied and there is a lot of activity around it. It does happen to be right over a very good section of fishing water though.


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

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