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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Osprey Nest

February 27th, 2011 · No Comments

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The birdlife in the Everglades continually amazed me. Not just the great number and variety of birds, but especially because many of them are so used to people and trusting of us that they allow us to get quite close, in some cases within 10 feet. In these conditions anyone can get some great pictures whether or not they are carrying heavy zoom lenses and tripods.

We did need that equipment, however, for the photo shoot at our second location. Right at the edge of Everglades National Park is a fully inhabited osprey nest — one that contains an osprey chick. The nest is certainly far enough from the vantage point to require the equipment that we carried.

But its great advantage is that it is at eye level from that vantage point, an on-ramp to a bridge between the Everglades and Key Largo. Cheryl, another participant in Russ Burden’s nature photo tour with me and two others, has a home in Marathon in the middle of the Keys. She had discovered the nest and told us about it. Russ flexibly changed the schedule to take advantage of this rare opportunity.

The five of us set up our equipment at the edge of the on-ramp. Fortunately, almost no traffic passed us.

Waiting for the best possible shot of an osprey with a chick was a far different scene from shooting along the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park. We stayed in one place from 4 p.m. to when the last sun hit the nest at precisely 6 p.m. In those two hours I took hundreds of photos at that one location.

The wait rewarded our patience. Just a quarter hour before sunset I got my favorite shot of the afternoon with the glow of last light illuminating the two ospreys intensely watching possible prey.

Osprey Parent and Chick Near Sunset

Osprey Parent and Chick Near Sunset

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Then, for the actual sunset we packed up and drove to Key Largo, where we stood with the crowd that applauded as the sun went down, and I shot this scene.

A Skipper and His Dog Watch the Sunset

A Skipper and His Dog Watch the Sunset

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Right there was my favorite restaurant of the entire trip to Florida. Gilbert’s Resort has a large outdoor restaurant where we feasted on fresh fish just 10 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. Live music and a magic act completed our magical day.

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Posted in: Florida, Photography

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