4 Oct 2014

4 Oct 14 - Osprey: Dive Dive Dive

A grim morning of rain & wind as a front came through finally gave way to clearing skies, but still a cold wind, by early afternoon. This was just in time for the low tide in Brands Bay so I decided to pop down to see if there were any interesting Waders. All pretty standard species with a lone Grey Plover, 180 Black-wits, 173 Redshanks (a personal record count for Brands Bay), 3 Greenshanks & 5 Dunlin.
Black-tailed Godwit
Redshank: Good to get a new personal record count for the bay of 173. My previous best was 166 with typically counts over 120 being noteworthy
I was about to start counting the Ducks (although numbers didn't look inspiring when I went through the Waders), when the Black-wits started to scatter. A quick check & the culprit was obvious, the first Winter Osprey that has been hanging around Brands Bay over the last week, was over the near channel. It stayed around for 15 - 20 minutes as it made over half a dozen dives into the channels in the bay. But sadly all were unsuccessful. Hopefully, it finally caught something after it disappeared over to Newton Bay on the far side of the Goathorn peninsula. This is my latest UK Osprey (unless I see it again next week).
Osprey: 1st Winter. This extensive spotting on the upperparts indicate it is a juvenile/1st Winter
Osprey: 1st Winter. The start of the first dive
Osprey: 1st Winter. Unfortunately, a miss
Osprey: 1st Winter. Starting to rise
Osprey: 1st Winter. I started to feel I was inside a wildlife documentary
Osprey: 1st Winter. Back up high & looking for a new target
Osprey: 1st Winter. The second impact
Osprey: 1st Winter. The second dive was also unsuccessful
Osprey: 1st Winter
Osprey: 1st Winter. Back to looking for another fish
Osprey: 1st Winter. The third dive
Osprey: 1st Winter
Osprey: 1st Winter
Osprey: 1st Winter. Back to hovering & looking again
Osprey: 1st Winter. Another attempt
Osprey: 1st Winter. But unsuccessful again
Another few unsuccessful attempts occurred, but further out in the bay. Then suddenly, it flew much closer.
Osprey: 1st Winter
Osprey: 1st Winter. Phew, it's found some blue sky
It then passed right over the hide. At this point, I was trying to photograph it from the hide with the camera as vertical as I could get from inside the hide, while it was nearly overhead. I was surprised to find that I managed to keep the Osprey fully in the frame, despite it being so close & at such an awkward angle on nearly all the photos. I should have joined local photographer, Simon Kidner, who had raced out from the hide by this point. But he had no option given he was trying to use a 500mm lens.
Osprey: 1st Winter. Wow
Osprey: 1st Winter. An uncropped photo so show how close it was