Osprey – Part One

On the 14th of April, I stood in the cold wind in the middle of a yard for about twenty minutes shooting photos and videos of an Osprey intent on doing pretty much little beyond perching on a tree limb and occasionally vocalizing. 

You can click on these photos for a larger version but I didn’t bother with the full-size photos because it was a cloudy and dingy day and 1280 pixels in width is perfectly fine for these shots. 

Part two will have better shots both because those shots were taken in a clear and sunny day and also because I used my D7000 and D200 with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens and the Nikon 80-400mm f/5.6 VR lens along with the Nikon P900.

But, on this day, I had only brought the P900. 

Mind you, these aren’t bad shots but I’ve seen better. Not from me, but I’ve seen better. 

As mentioned, the bird did little more than look around and occasionally vocalize, apparently calling for its mate (or someone that answered but which we couldn’t see). 

I was probably standing about 30 yards away and trying to keep my shivering to a minimum so as to not spook the bird . . . who ignored me.

Unfortunately, most of the videos were shot with Matrix Metering and the sky, though not bright, was bright enough to result in an underexposed image. 

Eventually, I played with the settings and got slightly better results. 

Still, you’ll see the exposure change as I zoom and the camera meters based on where I was aiming.

You’ll note the image is not steady . . . again, holding the camera up at an angle, wearing no jacket, hat, or gloves, and standing against a stiff breeze in about 35º weather.

I got pretty chilly, I tell you what.

Why was I out there that long? I was hoping to catch the moment it took off. Mind you, I had little confidence in me being able to capture the moment because the P900 is NOT an action camera. 

What I did capture were a lot of instances where the Osprey appeared ready for flight but was — just like me — only struggling to retain its balance against the cold wind. 

It was perched on a tree right at the edge of a lake and many times it acted as if it had spotted a likely target . . . 

. . . only to resume looking around as if it was waiting for a bus.

People deride and bemoan the performance of the P900 but given the conditions, I’m perfectly happy with these shots. Nothing I’d hang in a museum but more than fine for the blog. The next batch of photos are, as I said, better.

Meanwhile, know there are a lot of similar photos but that’s the fault of the Osprey for not doing anything interesting for long stretches of time. 

When it finally did move, I wasn’t fast enough to catch the action because I was zoomed in too far. Also, I was unprepared for it to dive nearly straight down.

Look, I know it’s a lousy video but I was cold and miserable and the bird fooled me. Once lost, it was difficult to regain focus on the fast-moving bird . . . but I did catch it shaking off the cold water. 

It flew around for a bit and then settled on a brach across the lake . . . too far to get a clean shot. My brother-in-law tells me their success rate is less than 50% as far as catching fish. 

I don’t know the exact distance but by this point, I was ready to call it a day and take shelter from the dropping temperatures and cruel winds. 

I know many of these shots look the same but if it’s any consolation, I could have posted about twice as many that looked exactly like the above. Speaking of which, here’s a gallery of the above shots. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Animals, Feathers, Photos and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Osprey – Part One

  1. great bird, great pictures!


  2. oneowner says:

    I think the stills are of excellent quality and at least the bird didn’t have his back to you. Nice work.


    • disperser says:

      Thanks . . . although it did have its back to me. I had to wait for it to turn its head so I could capture something more than just the folded wings and crest.


  3. Mario Pineda says:

    Those are great pictures. How far away were you from the Osprey? This was handheld?


    • disperser says:

      Thank you, Mario. I estimate about 30 yards . . . wait, let me measure in Google Earth . . . I had estimated 30 yards but the ground distance from where I was standing to the tree it perched on is 112 feet (per Google Earth but I don’t know the margin of error; usually, it’s pretty accurate). Add a few more feet because I was shooting up and I would say between 35 and 40 yards.

      Yes, handheld in the cold and wind. You can see in the video my struggles to hold the camera steady. Both my tripods were back at the house (one is normally in the car but these days I leave the back clear in case I have to transport something we buy).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. AnnMarie says:

    It’s really nice that you have a greater choice of birds to shoot in Illinois (and neighboring states) than you had in Hawaii. I rarely see ospreys so this is a great addition to my collection of lovely birds photos taken by you.


  5. sandra getgood says:

    Beautiful pictures of the osprey. Very often, the male & female ospreys take off for the south in the fall, after their offspring have fledged and moved on. They often, in fact, all go to different places for the winter, possibly each going to wherever they first appeared as a youngster. And very often the male and his mate meet again at the nest where they raised their previous family, seeing each other for the first time since they departed the previous fall.
    We have several mated pairs of ospreys in this area who do this every year…it’s really quite amazing to watch them. see them raise a family, and then disappear to various different places in warmer climates until the parents return the following summer. As far as I know, the youngsters do not return to the parents, not ever, but it’s nice to think they are all setting up their own families. so you may have fun photographing a new family of ospreys this year.


    • mvschulze says:

      From what I know, and what I see year after year, your description of their lifestyle is correct. We play a little game – predicting when the first arrive for the season … and when they depart. I believe 20 years is not unusual for this ongoing cycle! . M :-)

      Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      Thanks for the information, Sandra. I’d not known that.

      As for the photographing the family, that’s not where we live, so I’ll seldom see them. Even so, their nest is around a cove not visible from the house. You need to go there with a boat . . . and I seldom have the desire or opportunity to travel by a boat that doesn’t have a world-class buffet.


  6. Mvschulze says:

    Looking forward to the next images, as I’m also intrigued with P 900 or 1000. The resolution here looks pretty good. I usually shoot w/o tripod, but, with the weight of my 150-600mm, especially extended out, I lean towards higher ISO for faster shutter speed. That’s pretty much ok (with some post processing,) but if I felt the lighter Nikon could also satisfy my desire for good image resolution … it might be worth considering. Thanks for all the comparisons on this. M :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OH! your photos and vids of the osprey are so wonderful! A joy to see! I’ve never been close to one that I knows of. So thank you so much for sharing these! I bet they are good fisher-ers, fast for sure!
    HUGS!!! :-)


  8. colonialist says:

    Nice try!
    Anyway, the stills are great.

    Liked by 1 person

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