Tuesday, October 8, 2013

THE EAGLE AND THE OSPREY

The bald eagle was perched in a tree half way up the mountain side.  I stopped the boat directly in front of him and pulled the binoculars up to my eyes.  His body was unmoved but, his head turned left and right with the occasional dead ahead look, and then he looked down at me and stared directly at me for the longest moment.  For that moment I was looking into the eyes of the most magnificent raptor on the lakes of America.  It seemed as though his gaze could see through the binoculars and into the pupils of my eyes.
When he severed eye contact, I exchanged the binoculars with the camera and gathered images that would archive these moments with him forever.  His head turned toward upstream and he hesitated in his constant scrutiny of the river.  In a heart beat he leaped from his limb and flew toward some target unseen by me.
I followed his course with the naked eye until I could see him no more.  The binoculars were brought into play and I picked him up as he flew far up river.  He was headed directly toward a tall tree on the shoreline.  It was then I saw his destination.
An osprey left the top of the tree and flew at top speed toward the opposite side of the river.  The eagle banked right and gave chase.  This was an amazing scene to behold.  The bald eagle caught up with the osprey and flew close to the osprey's tail, matching the osprey's turns and swerves perfectly.  I could see no space between the eagle's head and the osprey's tail.  The osprey cut left, then right and the big eagle matched him move for move perfectly.  I had the impression that the eagle could catch the osprey any moment it cared to but, was content with the chase.  The osprey plunged straight down to the water with the eagle on it's tail.  When the osprey leveled out at the water's surface - the eagle flew directly above it all the while descending toward the osprey's back pushing it closer and closer to the water.  The osprey's right wing splashed against the water as the big eagle continued to descend toward him.  The osprey veered sharply to the right at the last second before splash down and frantically climbed to gain altitude - the eagle still on his tail with no space between them. Then suddenly, the eagle turned away and flew to the tall tree where the osprey was initially perched  before the adventure started.  The osprey continued across the lake and disappeared into the tree tops.  What a thing to watch!

This territorial battle is one I'll never forget.  The amazing thing about it is the unbelievable eyesight these sky birds have.  The bald eagle saw the osprey sitting in a tree at least a quarter mile away.  The osprey was in dense tree foliage.  Think of that a moment.  Evidently the osprey was considered an interloper by the eagle which started the Hatfield/McCoy feud action.  The osprey is a resident on this end of the river and has lived in peace with the eagle pair all year.  I can't imagine what set the eagle off in such a rage.  I am certain of one thing.  The bald eagle could have caught and destroyed the osprey at any moment during the chase.  He toyed with that osprey. I wished I could have photographed that altercation but, it was impossible.
 Did I mention it was very foggy on the river?  It was as can be seen in these duck scenes.  The fog helped to create these surreal images.


 These ducks almost appear as sketched.
And, then you have your basic belted kingfisher.





The deer were enjoying the solitude of a foggy meadow.  


It's just another morning in my daily routine.  How lucky am I?!