Duck vs. Osprey

Fun day Saturday that started with an early morning 20 mile run.  The sunrise was sweet!  Finally starting to get some color again, it’s been a long winter.


The morning light was nice as I shut off my headlamp and cruised up a 4 mile climb.


I soon spotted a fox, who casually sat down for a scratch before taking off.


Clouds moved in and things got a little blustery, but the scenery was great. I can’t wait for some leaves to start popping out. I’ve been looking at bare twigs for too long.


I found a coyote skeleton. I felt exactly like that on some of my runs out here, luckily today I was still moving pretty well.


It was great to get home at a decent hour and still have the rest of the day ahead. Later in the afternoon, I ended up with 90 minutes to kill while waiting to pick up my daughter. I headed over to Cherry Creek State Park, thinking I would just do some ‘target practice’ with the camera. I like to test different shutter speeds and try to get better at keeping distant birds in focus. My expectations for any good shots were really low. It was the middle of the day and the light was very poor for the most part. Plus I knew the park would be busy on a Saturday afternoon. I saw some pelicans and smiled at what a crazy looking creature they are.


As I relocated to another area of the park, I drove past two photographers set up a little ways off the road with tripods and long lenses. Obviously capturing something interesting. I resisted the urge to crash their party (because that’s downright annoying) and instead made a mental note to check it out later if I had time.

It turned out to be a good call. I soon ran into this osprey and had it all to myself for the show that was about to unfold.


Taking flight a few minutes after I got set up, you could tell it was serious about doing some fishing.


Splash!! I was surprised at how hard it hit the water.


It sat there for a while, making me wonder what was going on under the surface. Eventually it started flapping its mighty wings and exerting great effort to free itself from the surface of the lake.




Was the hunt successful? It was hard to tell at the time, but I figured it had been since it was working so hard to lift off.

If you look closely at the last pic in the sequence above, you can spot the passenger.


Exhausted, the osprey finally gave up and sank back down into the water. Coming to rest near a pair of ducks.


Initially oblivious, the mallard was caught off guard by the splashing intrusion.  Feeling threatened, he launched into an all-out offensive.



But quickly aborted the charge when the osprey rose up out of the water in defense.


Talking smack throughout his retreat, you could almost hear the scolding Donald Duck voice.


The defeated mallard lifted himself in a triumphant pose for his lady. I think she was rolling her eyes, while the osprey was shaking its head at the whole thing.


Time to go to the other side of the lake.



The whole exchange was pretty comical, and caused me to reflect on how often similar things happen in our own lives. Someone, not meaning any harm or ill at all, causes a disturbance near us and we feel targeted. When in reality, they were just dealing with their own problems. But the world demands punishment for such acts, so it is handed out hastily.

In the future, I will strive to be a little less like that overreacting mallard.

It was a cool exchange to witness, though.

Oh, I found what the other photographers were looking at.  Some very sleepy baby owls.



Later that night I took my daughter up to Roxborough State Park to spot some bluebirds. She got to see me get busted by the ranger for belly-crawling 30 feet off the road to get this shot. He was super cool about it, I just need to stay on the trails/roads from now on…


And the next day, redemption for the osprey!



Posted on April 17, 2013, in photography, run. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. This has to be the post of the year in my book for all things bird. Amazing.

  2. What GZ & JP said! Better than any TV show or movie I’ve seen all year. I completely got pulled into the drama. Actually, my whole family did. On a side note, thanks to you, I’ve been noticing all the little bluebirds out on the trails. Typically they’re sitting on the barbwire fences. So vibrant!

    • Glad you liked it! It is so cool to see some of this stuff, but it’s even better to be able to share it and have others enjoy it as well.

      Bluebirds, I know! It’s kind of like when you are thinking of getting a particular new car, you start seeing them EVERYWHERE when you might not have even payed attention to them before.

  3. So, SO good! Check out those freaking talons in the last shot!

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