Thursday, April 30, 2009

Osprey at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge

Matty, Rick and I really enjoyed our time at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Indiana. The refuge is a mix of 7,802 acres of wetland, forest, and grassland, and over 280 species of birds have been found there.

Rick spotted this handsome Osprey overlooking the marsh. Regal and powerful, he perched in a large tree slowly scanning the water below, seemingly keeping an eye on the flock of Blue-winged Teal and American Coots weaving in and out of the shallows. He stayed in the tree for over 45 minutes just observing his territory, nonchalant and unhurried. Finally, he took off in flight and circled around to fly over the lake.

Osprey at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge

In the following photo, you can see the Osprey’s nictitating membrane pulled over his eye. Ospreys, as well as all raptors, have this transparent “third” eyelid to protect their eyes when hunting and eating. They also use it to keep the eyes moist and clean the eyes if something gets in them that causes irritation. The nictitating membrane moves horizontally across the eye instead of vertically like the regular eyelid.

The nictitating membrane looks light blue, but it's transparent. 

Busted! Mr. Osprey knows I'm taking his photo. 
He heard the camera click and turned to face me. 
Those are some penetrating eyes! He didn't care 
and went back to surveying his marshland.

25 comments:

Roy said...

Ospreys go that far inland, eh? I'm so used to them on the Eastern Shore of MD and here in Newport that I always thought they were a salt marsh bird. At least the Teal and the Coots had nothing to worry about; Ospreys only eat fish.

Kelly said...

Roy...yes...we get them around larger lakes. The Teal and Coots were very happy with the Osprey keeping watch it seemed! He truly seemed like a king surveying his land and protecting his subjects!

Nick S said...

This is usually the time we see this species start to head north where they breed. You got some good close-ups Kelly.

Little Brown Job said...

Great shots Kelly, I've only ever seen one once and that was only flying over about 10 years ago.

Shellmo said...

He is such a beautiful bird to behold! You got some really nice photos of him - especially when he caught you w/ the camera!

Jayne said...

He's beautiful Kelly, and your photos are so wonderful. I don't guess I've ever seen one.

holdingmoments said...

Magnificent birds, and you've captured him really well Kelly.
I wouldn't like to be a fish when he's around. :)

Kelly said...

Nick...thanks. They are leaving us and heading up to you. I look forward to your photos, which are always infinitely better than mine!!

Paul...Thanks. The certainly aren't "common" for us either. Just around the larger lakes.

Shelley...thanks...I always love when they look back at you through the lens...

Jayne...thanks. They are intersting birds. Fun to watch them fish in the lakes.

Keith...thank you very much, and yes....I agree with you -- fishies beware!!

Abe Lincoln said...

Boy these are magnificent shots, Kelly. You must have a long lens. And a good one.

Laure Ferlita said...

Once again, I am stunned with your photography skills! Great shots!

We are very fortunate to have the Ospreys here year round. There is nest over by my parents, one about three miles from us on the top of a telephone pole and dozens over by Tampa Bay.

My old office used to look out over Tampa Bay and occasionally I would see an Osprey catch a fish as big as s/he was! Incredible sight!!

Ginnymo said...

Love these photos Kelly!! I always learn something new here!! I saw a little hawk-like bird flying real fast through the woods and right into my yard yesterday. But I didn't catch him. Scared the heck out of my birds though..He seemed too fast for the Sharp-Shinned but it might have been. Maybe it's a new one!! I'd be so excited to get a shot at a new bird. Glad you liked my skunk video..Ha!

Cicero Sings said...

There is an osprey that hangs out by a lake we sometimes walk around. Last year, while we kayaked there, it made a fish catch almost in front of us. Exciting. It was all so interesting and amazing to watch, I forgot to get the camera going.

Kelly said...

Abe...I have a good lens but not a strong lens, just a 70 - 200mm with a 2x teleconverter. I do a lot of cropping. The lens has stabalization, so it take a little of the shake out of the image so I can crop more.

Laure...I remember when I was in Florida seeing a lot of Ospreys. I really like them. You'll have to check the nest out!

Ginny....could it be a Cooper's? They are really good at flying through trees and brush in my yard, but it seems the small kestrels are the fastest...

Cicero...it was probably better you took the time to watch and really soak it in. Sometimes with the camera, it seems I'm too distracted to really enjoy the experience.

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
You know what I've never seen one... There are no osprey here and when I lived in France, I was not in a region where they were!!! So, thanks for showing these pictures, and you got some very nice shots. I guess this might have been an experience.

The Early Birder said...

Great shots of this beautiful 'hunter'. Well done Kelly.
(Verification was "Anita", how weird is that, or an omen perhaps).
Lol FAB

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Kelly. I like the Osprey shots, especially the face on one. One bird looking at another one

Montanagirl said...

Beautiful shots of the Osprey, Kelly. Just curious, what kind of camera and lens do you use?

Warren Baker said...

ah.....for one of those over my patch this year. Had one last year, but it was probably a one off.

Tutta la Storia said...

I would just love to see an osprey here. I saw several growing up on the coast of Maine. Your squirrel pic is precious!

Roy said...

These are some really great images of the Osprey Kelly I have never actually seen one.

Andy said...

Wow, you got very close!

Rajesh said...

Very beautiful snaps.

Kelly said...

Chris....thank you! Yes it was. It's the closest I've ever been able to get to an Osprey. I couldn't believe my luck.

FAB...thank you...and yes...very weird, but in a good way!!

Ken...hahaha! Yes, you're right, and the straight-on view is my favorite too.

Montanagirl..thanks! I had a few questions about the camera...posted the answer in the next post (Great Blue Heron at Muscatatuck)

Warren....yes....he would have been your record breaker! I hope yours returns again this year. I hope I can get that close to one again!!

Tutta....thank you! (My son wants to live in Maine...it must have been beautiful there....)

Roy, Andy and Rajesh.....I did get close. I talk about it in the next blog. Thank you!!

E said...

Beautiful, I agree with the comments of all your friends. Hugs.

MRNot said...

Thanks for the info in your blog. I caught a pic that had me wondering what was wrong with my camera, and after Googling (per someone else's suggestion), came across your blog.. Now, if someone can explain what the heck the male was doing here (see also previous image), I'd be grateful..