Monday, January 21, 2013


Most of the wildlife that I notice on my trips are birds. And of the strict birds of prey, the one that I see most often (vultures are not--truly--raptors) are Ospreys. These birds seem to live everywhere I go. Coastal regions. Piedmont. Mountains. Even dry habitats don't seem to keep them away (I reckon they can fly to far-off lakes and rivers before returning home).

When I was in Yellowstone in 2010 I saw a lot of them. I noticed a huge osprey nest on a pillar of rock in Tower Canyon not far above the falls. While I was watching, an osprey parent arrived with a large fish for the nestlings. The young were very large and were, I assume, close to being ready to hit the skies. They were so large that I found it hard, once the fish had been dropped off, to figure out who was the parent and who were the babies.

Like every osprey nest I've seen, this one was enormous. What was different about this one was that it was constructed at the tip of a huge spire of rock projecting about 100 feet into the air.

Slightly altered second photo. This one had the nest area in shadow, so I altered lighting and contrast to show at least some detail. If you look closely, you can see the two young osprey tugging at the large fish between them.

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