Ok so yesterday many of you would have read on my Facebook Fan Page that I spent 16 long hours in a hide without revealing what I was doing. Well now I can. I was working at the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s Dyfi Osprey Project
in mid Wales, trying to nail some exciting images of these history making Ospreys. For the first time in 400 years ospreys have nested in the Dyfi Valley in mid Wales and I have been waiting for the right time to get them some images that they can use to advertise their success. Ospreys are covered by the schedule 1 license scheme and we did not want to do anything that would jeopardise them raising their chicks successfully. In the past week the monitoring team there has noticed that the ospreys are venturing further and further from the nest and now they regularly visit a couple of posts about 1km from the nest. This means that we are not disturbing the ospreys and so it was time to make a visit. The results, I think you will agree, are something else, all comments are below their respective pictures:
Beautiful backlight as Nora, the female, takes the remains of the previous night’s fish and brings it right into the perch. It almost caught me by surprise as the sun was barely up and I did not expect any action that early. Luckily the red light was just high enough to highlight her wings.
Amazing how just a few feet makes a huge difference, this is taken a fraction of a second later but Nora had almost flown though the shaft of red light. The whole image looks slightly colder, still lovely wings though.
The last moments before she lands as she throws on the brakes, just look at the focus in those eyes!
A few hours passed with not much action, the sky clouded up and I was
beginning to think about a snooze when Monty took off from the nest. He’s the magnificent male, a really dark and powerful osprey and he’s been working overtime the past few weeks as the sole provided of food for the young (and Nora who steals it!!). Yesterday he caught 6 fish for the family and I was really desperate to get some shots of this beautiful bird. And he obliged!
The man himself! Magnificent. Of course the story here is really of the three youngsters, Leri, Einion and Dulas who have all fledged and have now been tagged with satellite transmitters.
Here you can see Einion with his transmitter.
And two of them flying together. Very soon they will fly like this for real, making the long migration to Africa without their parents (Nora will leave before and likely Monty last). Only 1 in 3 youngsters survive to make the return journey, which is one reason for the tracking equipment as we want to know more about where they go and what happens to them. The BBC and the supporters of the project paid for these transmitters.
For everyone concerned at the project it has been a great year and there will be a lot of sadness when the ospreys leave in a couple of weeks. Hopefully they will return next year and I will be there to hopefully bring you some more images. Yesterday I had a lot of help, not only from Emyr Evans the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust Osprey Project Manager but also from Al, Hugh and my radio team who kept me awake and always let me know when an osprey left the nest and headed in my direction. Too many wildlife photographers pretend that they are the world’s greatest and don’t thank the people that help them, let this be a lesson to all that I could not have done this without great help on the ground.
You can follow the Dyfi Osprey Project by clicking here
I hope that you enjoy these images, this will be my last major blog before I leave for the Arctic next week. One thing you will notice is that this BLOG has no technical information about taking the shots. This is deliberate as I am working on a new section of the website that will deal with this specifically, more details when I get back! Those of you coming from Facebook, please return there to post a comment or two and those from Twitter please spread the link! Ospreys are cool!