Osprey In Flight

There are times when everything just seems to fall in place. These images are a testament to that. They are of the same bird in the same flight sequence taken a few seconds apart. This opportunity came close to not happening.

I had been out photographing birds for almost two hours. It was a brisk partly cloudy Southern California morning. It was one of those days with long periods of restless waiting in between shutter releases. One of those days where the standing around and waiting seemed to reveal all the weak spots in my layers and the cold morning air took complete advantage.

I was positioned on top of a small ridge above a pond that usually held dozens of birds of various species, but on this morning there were only eleven birds (yes, I counted them.) The cold actionless morning was starting to take its toll. The return on investment seemed to dwindle by the minute. I was about ready to call it a wrap when my luck changed.

I spotted this bird on a parallel path several hundred yards out. I brought my camera to my eye confirming that it was indeed an osprey and I watched it flying through my viewfinder. Gracefully gliding above the treetops; a couple of strong wing flaps; followed by more gliding. Now I know how Orville and Wilbur Wright must have felt as they watched birds and dreamed of flight. Then it dipped its right wing and began an elegant turn in my direction. Holding my breath, I thought "please, please, please!" It dropped lower as it crossed the pond still heading in my direction. A couple hundred yards out it veered left then made a hard turn back to the right (I think it did this in order to create a little extra distance between me and its desired route.) I squeezed off a few shots as it flew by me. Shortly after passing me it climbed steeply away from my position then made an acrobatic 180 degree turn right back at me! I recomposed, focused and fired off a few more frames.

Right place, right time. I stuck it out. I was lucky to have a curious osprey fly by at close range, posing perfectly! Praise God!

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