Osprey. (Pandion haliaetus) This raptor is our subject this week. It feeds on mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects, according to Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America. A large long-winged hawk with a short, fairly slender body. It is 23 inches long, has a wing-span of 63 inches, and weighs 3.5 pounds. It is dark in color above, with white breast and white crown. Click on the above link for more info.
This unique species captures fish by hovering, then plunging feet-first into water, as shown in the following series of photographs that I captured as he caught a meal in the Concho River in San Angelo, Texas. These first three photos show him hitting the water as he sights his prey.
In this fourth photo, you can see that he has a fish tucked underneath.
In these final three images you can see it hanging freely as he flys away. The weight of the catch nearly drags him down near the water in the last photo.
These images were captured with my Canon EOS 40D about two years ago. I had my 100-400mm lens on the camera. I picked the osprey up in the viewfinder as he started to make his pass. I was shooting in the multiple image mode of about four frames per second. I panned with him and kept the shutter pressed down. EXIF info is ISO 400, 1/1250 per sec at f8.
But, he wasn’t finished. He then circled around and made this “victory” pass.
As a side note, Holly at http://photobyholly.wordpress.com/ suggested several weeks ago that I publish a series of “action” photos showing a raptor catching a fish. I hope you enjoyed them. Click on any image to see an enlargement.