A Quick Time-Out From Politics

Hey everyone!

My apologies for not actively posting more in recent memory.  Been a tough time.  (More on that a bit later.)

Figured I’d post outside of the nutty political realm for a minute, and share a great video sent to me by a friend.

I’ve written here before that I am a ‘birding geek’. There are so many different species, with such a variety of physical abilities, attributes and ‘talents’, that it is almost impossible to not find something facsinating.

I live at the Jersey Shore, with the sparkling Barnegat Bay a couple of turns from my house, just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean . (Yes, New Jersey has many beautiful natural areas, despite the bad wrap we usually, and sometimes deservedly, get.)

Barnegat Bay is one of the most productive, nutrient-rich environments in the state. The vast tracks of salt marshes and brackish waters make for excellent feeding grounds, especially for birds which cruise along the “Atlantic Flyway.”

Huge numbers of waterfowl, warblers, hawks, and seabirds travel, stop off, and live here during their yearly migrations.

My favorite is the Osprey.

Ospreys travel about 3,000 miles during each migratory period.  Wintering in warm, sunny places like Costa Rica, they gobble up food for the long trek north, where they end up at their summer breeding grounds.  Depending on the weather encountered on their trip up, they will arrive in the same location, almost on the same day, every year. With few exceptions, each pair (Ospreys are generally monogamous) returns to the exact nest, like they have some natural GPS system.  (Well, unless they don’t survive the trip.)

That always amazes me.

Osprey talons are huge. They have barbed pads to aid in gripping slippery fish. And on each set of talons, one of the front toes can turn backwards, allowing for a ruthless grasp. This also enables them to maneuver their catch, turning the fish head-first into the wind to reduce drag and improve areo-dynamics.

In a few weeks, they will once again return here to their local summer homes on the bay, repairing their nests, raising their broods, and ruling the skies.

This video mainly shows Ospreys fishing. The footage is quite extraordinary. I don’t know exactly where it was taken, but, it’s a great example of their unique hunting abilities.

(Key in on the talons when they are just about to hit water.) 

Anyway, take a little time and check it out! 

(There’s no Sandra Fluke in it. Honest!)

 

(The post picture on the main page was a picture I took last summer at Island Beach State Park, NJ. The orange eyes denote a juvenille Osprey. It’s a bit hard to tell, but, in the lower right part of the picture, you can see another juvenille Osprey huddled down in the nest. I had a problem uploading the picture, so the wing-tips are cut off for some reason.)

Shortlink:

Posted by on March 10, 2012.
Filed under Categories, Nature, Personal.
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  • MichaelLaprarie

    1:45 is incredible, and the shot at 2:35 is just beautiful.  Thanks for sharing Shawn.  Hope things are going better for you.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Shawn

    Hey, Mike!

    Glad you liked it!

    They really are something to witness.  I like the shot which shows the underwater catch, around :56.  The patience of the film crew to get that shot is impressive.

    I’m not sure, but, I believe that underwater catch was of a fluke, just not the Sandra type. 

    Thank you for the kind concern.  Hope you are well!

    -Shawn

  • jim_m

    My favorite is the sequence from 0:50 to 1:26.  Stooping into deeper water and then shaking off the water like a dog in mid air.

    Great to see you back.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Shawn

    Thank you, jim.
     
    Ospreys are pretty unique in that they have ‘oily’ feathers, which helps to keep them from absorbing too much water when they plunge after a fish.
     
    I don’t know.
     
    I just think it’s really cool.
     
    Thanks for checking it out!
     
    -Shawn

  • Gmacr1

    Impressive.

  • Commander_Chico

    Very nice.  I love to watch the Red Tailed Hawks in my area.

  • Oysteria

      That was awesome. The coolest part, I thought, was the bird shaking all the watter off while flying – and with a big fish in tow too.

    I lived in Key West for ten years.  Many ospreys there.  We simply called them fish hawks.  As you drive down the keys you’ll see their large nests on top of phone poles all the way down.
     

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Shawn

    Thanks for watching, everyone!

    Oyster!  I was hoping you were still around here!

    We mainly have man-made pole platforms that were placed in the shallows of the bay.  I believe at last count, at Island Beach, there were 26 nests.  It was part of a “transplant” program in the 80′s and 90′s.  Ospreys were almost completely wiped out from the use of DDT.   It caused thinning of the egg shells, so when the birds would sit on their eggs to keep them warm, the shells would crush.

    Thankfully, Ospreys have made a great comeback.  They’re on every continent except Antarctica.

    OK..  This is probably boring you, and I could talk about them all day, so I’ll stop.

    -Shawn

  • SCSIwuzzy

    Have you ever watched the eagles at High Point?

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Shawn

    Nope.

    I’ve lived in Jersey for 40 years, and I have never been there.  I have always wanted to go, though.

    Are there alot of them?

    We have them in certain ares around here, but not in large numbers.  There’s one pair that made it’s nest on a cell-phone tower in Bricktown, a few miles from Toms River.  They caused a little local sensation when they moved in.

    -Shawn

  • Hank_M

    Wow! Great video, thanks for posting it.

    I too enjoy birds and  have had a feeder outside the kitchen for about 25 years.
    We get a fantastic variety feeding there. Even had a hawk dive down once and take out a blue jay.

    Hope you’re doing well, Shawn, and great to see a post from you.
     

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Shawn

    Hey Hugh,

    Glad you enjoyed the video!

    I haven’t actually seen a hawk catch another bird, but, I have seen the aftermath.

    A broad-winged hawk was staking out my feeders a while back.  I’d come out in the morning, and he’d be strategically perched on a branch in a nearby tree.  I’d go out later in the day, and find a little pile of fluffy feathers nearby from his brunch.

    Click on the thumbnail below to see a picture I took of him about a year ago.

    Thanks!

    -Shawn

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7W4MWMYNXMN4ENFD6AI6SLJIFQ Michael J.

    For more fun with our feathered friends, check out this “on board camera” video of a peregrine falcon and a goshawk!

  • shellylefty

    Hey Shawn, how are you? Wondering if I’d find you here. Pleasantly surprised to catch this post. I am also a bird lover. Wonderful post and the video was beautiful. Shelly