Nesting Osprey

by John Briggs on April 17, 2011

in Bird Photographs, Bird Photography Weekly, Blog, Maine Birds

Osprey – Pandion haliaetus

I took advantage of crystal clear blue skies Friday morning to photography the nesting activity of a pair of Osprey on the campus of the Southern Maine Community College. The nest is on a man-made platform, just off a pier at the terminus of Fort Road, in Casco Bay. I had 3 hours before class and hoped to see both male and female Osprey on the nest.

When I arrived on the pier, the female Osprey was huddled low on the nest to offset the effects of the cold and wind. Several minutes later, two Osprey flew low over the nest and the female rose from her huddled position to give several scolding calls to the pair.

The bay was busy with waterfowl, including American Wigeon, Common Eider, Long-tailed Ducks, Common Loon and Horned Grebe. Gulls followed several lobster boats as lobstermen motored across the bay to check their traps. Ferries shuttled commuters from the islands of Casco Bay to the terminal in Portland Harbor. A near perfect morning, with the exception of the cold northwest winds.

After watching the female Osprey sit on the nest for nearly an hour, I heard another Osprey call overhead. It was hubby, and he had romantic intentions for the Misses. She was receptive, kneeling with her rear raised, but the male over-corrected and landed to far up on her back. It was somewhat comical watching the pair in this position for a full minute before the female shrugged her shoulders and the male hopped off. Maybe he will get it right the next time.

I will be watching this pair throughout the summer, hoping to see the young and their interaction with their parents. I may even get lucky and see the juveniles leave the nest for the first time. I will keep you up to date with photos and videos of this Osprey family over the course of the next several months.

The following photos were taken with a Canon 7D and a Canon 400mm f/4 L IS lens. Simply click a thumbnail below for a full-sized view. ©2011 John Briggs Photography

Happy birding!

World Bird Wednesday



Linda Rockwell April 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Wonderful photos. Hope the male’s aim improves. ;) Can’t wait to see photos of the chicks, assuming it does.

Robin Robinson April 17, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Wow! Nice, but kind of risque, don't you think?
My recent post KIWI!!!! Or Maybe a Woodcock

@BlairCessna April 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Great sequence…lucky you being in the right spot at the right time..Great capture. You are the man.

Kelly April 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm

…your photos of the osprey couple are beautiful…so crisp. I watched a pair with a baby on a nest in Florida for the week we were there in March. I didn't want to leave. I'll have to be content to live vicariously through your posts through the rest of the season! :-)
My recent post Dutchmans Breeches and a resident tiny spider

Mick April 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Great photos and you have a wonderful opportunity to see and photograph these birds. I guess they are used to people and activity around them. There are Ospreys around the bay where I live but they are very wary and it's difficult to get anywhere near a nest.

Dawn April 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Great Series!

Larry April 18, 2011 at 12:26 am

Awesome shots John! Notice that the male retracts his claws into a ball before engaging (or trying to engage) the female. You can imagine what those fish hooks could do to her if he didn't!

I wish you all the best documenting the nesting season. I hope we get to see those nestlings maiden flights!
My recent post Bald Eagles Nesting at Turtle Bay- Patriot and Liberty Raising Two Eaglets

Michel R. April 18, 2011 at 5:28 am

What a nice series John.
My recent post Lovely Redpoll

Nicole April 18, 2011 at 5:35 am

Amazing to have this sight nearby!
I love Ospreys :)
Looking forward to see the development there!
My recent post Yellow Wagtail- Schafstelze- Motacilla flava

MaineBirder April 18, 2011 at 6:19 am

Thank you for the wonderful comments and re-tweets folks!

Martha Z April 18, 2011 at 11:29 am

Great series, I rarely have an opportunity to see osprey. Nesting herons and egrets are common for me, though.
My recent post Visit to the Colorado Plateau

NatureFootstep April 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

great shots. And good luck with following them. I´ll look forward to hear more about it.
My recent post Stjärtand – Anas acuta – Northern Pintail

Modesto Viegas April 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Very good series!!!
My recent post Gralha-de-nuca-cinzenta

Deanna Chaffe April 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

How did you get so close without scaring the birds. They are so beautiful.

MaineBirder April 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Again, thank all of you for the comments!

Along with following this pair throughout the summer, I will be photographing and capturing video of Osprey during the annual Alewife run in Damariscotta , Maine in about a month.

Frank April 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Excellent action series of mating behaviour John.

andrew April 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Ospreys are beautiful birds to see. Many thanks for sharing this post a great series of images.

Ryan April 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Wonderful photos! We are following a nesting pair as well down here in KY. Last year was their first year nesting and it was successful so hopefully they can do it again this year and this time I will be there with my camera!
My recent post Molting Goldfinch

springman April 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm

That is some lens John! I use the 400mm5.6L and it ain't bad. But a 4.0L IS, now that's living! I will certainly look forward to more of your gorgeous shots as you document this wonderful scene!

Mark April 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Amazing pics John.

Michelle April 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm

You commented on my goldfinch rescue. It did look like eye disease in the photos, but in person, the eyes were clear. It was the photo only. I am aware of and have seen

mycoplasmal conjunctivitis in a house finch and took all the right steps. This bird was just suffering from bad weather..Michelle PS…amazing photos…what a treat!

pattyler1 April 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Ospreys are so beautiful! Wonderful shots here. Hope you get to see chicks soon!

Bill S. April 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Ospreys are always fun to watch. You captured a lot of their traditional actions. Love the post.
My recent post The Stunning Ferruginous Hawk

Rebecca April 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Great post and photo series!

Carletta April 19, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Wow, excellent series!
Beautiful photography.

Thanks for your visit.

Stewart M April 20, 2011 at 3:04 am

What a great bird – like the fact that you can see the same species in so many different places in the world. Makes a kind of connection with the rest of the world!
My recent post In the wake of the flood

Sondra April 20, 2011 at 3:50 am

WOW..what fun you're going to have observing this nest…Great photos!!

Inger-M April 20, 2011 at 7:40 am

Fabulous series of magnificent birds!
Thanks for your visit and comment on my blog! :-)

Boom & Gary April 20, 2011 at 8:24 am

Great sequence!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.
My recent post Me- Boomer and The Vermilon River- Life and Death on the Vermilon River A Post to WB

Jean April 20, 2011 at 8:27 am

Outstanding & educational look into the Ospreys' life!

Pam April 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

Excellent, excellent, excellent shots! I love osprey but have only seen a few around. Did I mention that your shots are excellent? LOL

TexWisgirl April 20, 2011 at 11:20 am

great shots!
My recent post Wood duck coupledom

Amila April 20, 2011 at 11:31 am

Outstanding sequence of photos!
My recent post The Tailor That Flies

Eileen April 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm

How cool , fantastic captures. I will be wonderful to see the chicks appear.

Fotokarusellem April 21, 2011 at 12:46 am

Thanks for comments. A great set of images.
Have a nice easter.
My recent post World Bird Wednesday XXII

Fotokarusellem April 21, 2011 at 1:49 am

A great set of action images. Beautiful!
Have a nice easter.
My recent post World Bird Wednesday XXII

Sallie(FullTime-Life April 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

I love this series of photos! Here in Florida, the ospreys nest on trees and signposts along the Caloosahatchie River, where we boat.

At the Lake in Oregon, where we spend part of the summer most years, there are manmade posts such as you describe. We usually get there too late to see the babies, so I really love seeing them here.
My recent post EARTH DAY

Mike B. April 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Awesome! Our ospreys have just returned, and of course their nest is atop a cell phone tower.
My recent post Backyard Birds of Prey

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: