Storytime 44

So if a picture is worth a thousand words, this storytime post is going to be the longest, I think.

osprey Pandion haliaetus crusing past with fish
Anyway, this sequence was captured during this outing, as we tracked an osprey (Pandion haliaetus) passing with its capture. To set the stage, we were standing in plain sight on the lakeshore, probably some 40-60 meters from this bird, and given how good raptor eyesight and hearing is, there’s little question that the osprey knew we were there. Which makes its behavior slightly puzzling.

osprey Pandion haliaetus in hard bank with fish
Abruptly and with no warning, the osprey banked hard as if avoiding a collision. I was tracking it and just kept firing off the frames without taking my eye from the viewfinder.

osprey Pandion haliaetus in banking dive with fish
But after the maneuver was over, I was able to look around to see the threat that had made the bird dodge so quickly, and found nothing at all – not another bird within hundreds of meters.

osprey Pandion haliaetus coming out of hard bank
This image makes it appear as if the osprey might have been about to lose its fish, and struggled to maintain it, but the previous photos give no indication of that, and they’re more than capable of hanging on with just one set of ridiculously-sharp and strong talons.

And again, I might have suspected that it suddenly became aware of our presence and figured it was coming too close, except it wasn’t very close (we’d had others pass much less than half that distance overhead earlier in the day,) and I can’t believe that it suddenly noticed us. We weren’t hidden in any way, or unobtrusive save for perhaps being quiet at the time.

osprey Pandion haliaetus returning to its original flight path
Too, it soon banked back onto its original course, instead of veering off across the lake away from us, so I doubt we were the cause.

There’s a slim chance that it suddenly spotted a fish below it in the water, and started to home in for the kill before remembering that it already had a fish, but that seems suspect too. Pretty unlikely that it ran into a spiderweb. Too late in the season to be competing in the shorebird slalom trials. So what I’m saying is, there’s a story but I ain’t got it.

Maybe it was one of those pesky dragonflies