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Observations & Images
25 March 2007
Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg, FL

A three-day conference pulled me away from Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge but not from going out to watch Ospreys. A sunrise birding trip to Fort De Soto Park resulted in the happenstance finding of Ospreys fishing a tidal pool. Here an Osprey is in its dive toward the water.
The Osprey hits the water....
....and comes up with a fish firmly gripped in its talons.
Throughout the hour or so I was there I witnessed two other Ospreys attempt to fish the tidal pool though without any luck. The following shows a selection of images from their attempts. Here an Osprey circles studying the water below for prey.
Once a target fish is selected the bird goes into its dive.
The fall is so fast that it is difficult to follow with a camera. The point where the bird shifted its body position to bring its talons forward was always missed due to the rapidity of the attack.
Three images show three different impacts of the Ospreys into the water.
Depending on the angle of descent the bird might go entirely under the water or only partially.
The pool was fairly shallow in parts which may have played a part in the failure of the birds to catch any fish. I suspect they probably hit bottom several times.
The Ospreys would remain in the water only a few seconds before flying out.
The bird pulls itself out of the water.
No fish this time.
The Osprey will now be flying with water-laden feathers.
To divest itself of some of this extra weight the bird will shake in midair very similar to a dog with a wet coat.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
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