Osprey (Year Bird #42)

30 Mar

One of the easiest raptors to identify is the Osprey.  They are fish specialists so you tend to find them near fresh water.  They have white heads and a sleek, long-limbed look to them.  They stand out.

Saturday, while driving near Lexington Reservoir in Santa Clara county, an osprey flew right in front of my car.  Breathtaking!  Love those 60 mph birding opportunities!

Osprey with Flounder

Ospreys are, as I said, fish specialists.  I was lucky enough to capture this one nibbling on a flounder last year at the Albion River in Northern California.  He wasn’t too worried about us as we let the boat drift near him.  We wanted to get a good picture but didn’t want to scare him (her?) away.  Handsome, huh?


On that same trip, I caught this one out over the ocean where the river meets the Pacific.  Earlier that same day, I caught a Bald Eage in much the same place.  It was a GREAT trip!

Osprey nest on Albion River

Ospreys nest in trees high above the water.  This nest above the Albion River is typical.  They like to nest near their food source (the water).    We saw the parents returning to this nest and also sitting in the tops of trees nearby to keep an eye on the nest.

Osprey pair on nest

This pair of Osprey nests at Mono Lake every year.  It’s an inland sea with a very high salt water content.  There are no fish in the lake.  The Osprey must nest here because it is safe.  They commute to nearby freshwater lakes to get their food.  Mono Lake is a fantastic bird watching hotspot.  Many, many birds use it as a nesting ground and/or haitus on their migration route.  However, most of them eat the rich food sources that are provided in Mono Lake (mostly insect, brine shrimp, and then nearby desert creatures).  These enterprising Osprey have carved out a unique niche for themselves.

To see more amazing birds doing their birdly thing, visit Bird Photography Weekly!


15 Responses to “Osprey (Year Bird #42)”

  1. jayne 30 March, 2009 at 2:33 am #

    Such cool birds! And how smart is that nesting out in the middle of the lake? :c)

    • Liza Lee Miller 30 March, 2009 at 5:15 am #

      It’s pretty cool how they nest out in the middle of that lake. The only problem is when the babies fledge. I know that two of them this last summer had to be rescued from the water by the rangers who were out there on canoes nearby anyway. It’s not a long drop down to the water so the birds couldn’t really get their wings under them. The rangers rescued them and put them back in the nest and then they figured it out the next time. Still, all in all, it works out nicely!

  2. Pam 30 March, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    Very cool birds, for sure, and I love seeing CA landscapes in your photos.

  3. MaineBirder 30 March, 2009 at 6:56 am #

    Nice photos Liza!

    They are an awesome bird to watch. Last year, we had 2 nesting pairs nearby. At every mid through high tide, they would be out in the cove fishing. Once the fledged were able to fly, the parents brough them out and tough them how to fish.

  4. robin andrea 30 March, 2009 at 7:19 am #

    I had no idea there were ospreys by Lexington Reservoir. That news makes driving “over the hill” even more interesting. We saw a Bald Eagle in southern Monterey County on Saturday. It was soaring over the Salinas River, just south of King City. What a sight.

    • Liza Lee Miller 31 March, 2009 at 4:47 am #

      I didn’t know there were either . . . it was exciting!

  5. Crafty Green Poet 30 March, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    Wonderful photos, I love ospreys, very handsome birds.

  6. Kyle 31 March, 2009 at 7:17 am #

    Great captures, Liza! And that closeup you got last year is outstanding!

    I kept seeing reports of Ospreys that were wintering around our area over the past couple of months, but I missed them every time I got out to see them. I’d love to be able to see them on their “home turf,” especially during nesting season.

    • Liza Lee Miller 31 March, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

      Thanks, Kyle. They are very cool birds. I hope you get to see some soon!

  7. Dawn Fine 1 April, 2009 at 6:07 am #

    Very nice photos..first time on your blog. Like it!

  8. g2gvisions 3 October, 2009 at 4:58 pm #

    Great shots. Beautiful lake. I love to shoot Ospreys. I follow them on Cape Cod and in South Florida. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Korey 17 January, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    What exactly is the Ospreys niche?

    • lizalee 20 February, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

      When I used the term “niche,” I was referring to these particular Osprey who have made their nests on the Mono Lake tufa towers in the absence of tall waterside trees which is where Osprey normally nest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: