Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A tribute to the osprey

William Bartram was a naturalist who explored the Florida area and wrote about it in his book "Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, etc.", published in 1791. I learned about his book from a list of favorite books read by Jeff Klinkenberg, a writer for the St Petersburg Times. Klinkenberg writes some of the best Florida stories. I found an electronic version of the book "The Travels of William Bartram" and no further than page 63 I found one of the best descriptions of the osprey and the eagle. The first paragraph describes the eagle, the second paragraph describes the osprey:

"The bald eagle is likewise a large, strong, and very active bird, but an execrable tyrant: he supports his assumed dignity and grandeur by rapine and violence, extorting unreasonable tribute and subsidy from all the feathered nations."

"The last of this race I shall mention is the falco piscatorius, or fishing-hawk: this is a large bird, of high and rapid flight; his wings are very long and pointed, and he spreads a vast sail, in proportion to the volume of his body. This princely bird subsists entirely on fish, which he takes himself, scorning to live and grow fat on the dear earned labours of another; he also contributes liberally to the support of the bald eagle."

An eagle is an impressive bird and when I have the opportunity to photograph it, I take it. On the other hand, it is the osprey that has commanded my respect and admiration the most. Of so many birds that I love, the osprey is my favorite next to the brown pelican; not just for photography, but as a constant companion on my Everglades trips (as is the brown pelican). While I do see several other birds often, the osprey's presence is consistent and it is always a joy to hear its melancholy call, telling me I am near a nest. I believe that Bartram described this bird perfectly.

Recently at Flamingo, I was able to get rather close to an active osprey nest and the mother allowed me a brief glimpse of a nestling, my first siting. Often, I see osprey flying overhead with a fish in claws or nesting materials in mouth. However way I can capture this magnificent fish hawk, I try. Enjoy these photos of one of south Florida's best birds, the osprey.

I almost forgot to add the following; recently I learned of a webcam on a nesting osprey. As of this writing, two of her 3 eggs have hatched. Enjoy the live action here.

No comments:

Post a Comment