Friday, August 07, 2009

The Rapture of the Rapters

Canoeing along one of those Mid-Atlantic Rivers with an American Indian name during the last of the least hot days of summer, we were privileged to see an osprey/bald eagle altercation high in the sky above our canoe. A male osprey was defending its young in the nest from the bald eagle trying to land in the nearby tree. The activity was just like watching a military airplane 'dog fight' as the osprey spiraled higher and higher and screeched louder and louder trying to get above the larger and more powerful eagle and then spiral diving toward its back, just missing each time, perhaps only trying to drive the eagle away. This drama continued for several minutes while the young osprey in the nest made a little frightening 'cheeing' noise. The female mother osprey swooping nearby in the sky kept cheering daddy on while hovering high over the nest and calling to the little one to keep low. Finally the bald eagle admitted defeat and flew away looking for a less challenging perch.

This is a young bald eagle we came across on the same canoe trip just getting its adult colors. If you click to enlarge you will see the mottled coloring.

This is an adult bald eagle in flight.

This is the young osprey wondering if we also were going to attempt to eat him. The expression on his face is so readable.

Another young osprey in another nest further up the river. Actually if you look closely you will see there are two osprey in this photo. (Some photos can be clicked on for a better view. For some odd technical reason I sometime lose the link when uploading photos.)


Barry said...

Nature is full of drama and excitement--and great opportunities for photographs!

Strangely, the word verification is "mention".

So maybe that's a prompt to remind me to mention, I really enjoyed this post!!

Linda said...

My word verification is tree with a "c" at the end, like see what's in the tree........
Tabor, You could sell these pictures to National Geographic, or maybe you do already. An absolutely fabulous post! This is only the third time I have seen the facial expressions on birds of prey. The last time was when a wildlife lady brought a hawk into our school library and then the time I had the special visit to the inside exhibit at the zoo. The details in the nest and the mood of the osprey are captivating. I am awestruck!

Phoenix said...

What fantastic pictures!

Hilary said...

Wonderful photos, Tabor. That's quite an interaction you witnessed. There are bald eagles nesting a short distance from Frank's family cottage and I managed to get a few blurry shots of one of the adults in flight (difficult to do from a bobbing boat - hence the blurriness) and of the two eaglets - neither of which have the white head yet, so I suspect are less mature than the one in your photo. It's such a treat when nature allows us to take a peek in on it.

Sandy said...

Great photos, Tabor - I check in randomly to see what you are up to... When I was living in FLorida, I was blessed with big wild birds - red tailed hawks, brown eagles, etc. - living in the trees around my house and I captured them on my blog. Now I live in Washington state and the eagles are everywhere here, but never when I have my camera!

During my Florida era we were involved in an osprey rescue which did not turn out well. Still, I was very moved by the majesty of these lovely wild creatures.