The fledgling male osprey had caught a fish so big that even a mature female osprey (who are bigger than the males) would have had trouble getting the catch back to a tree. And, there is the ever present danger of a bald eagle looking for a fish to steal.
The osprey fledgling was on a branch about 50 feet above me on a tree only 30 feet away. When an osprey is that close to the water and they spot a fish, they tilt over and drop almost straight down, like a falling rock. You get to see just what I got to see … and I was so close that my long lens couldn’t frame all of the osprey for the complete dive. Whew!
Osprey’s often get rather messy down their chests when they are eating their fish. One way that an osprey can quickly clean his front is to skip across the water, chest parallel to the surface, and at very high speed scrape clean his front, lickety-split. All ospreys do this – but you have to recognize the difference in the dive as they head for a cleaning session if you want to try to catch the action. This fledgling skipped 5 times before going aloft.
The osprey fledgling manages to catch a fish but has some trouble keeping it safe and secure where he can eat it. This is the same osprey fledgling that gave us his expressions in yesterday’s slideshow.