Monday, June 4, 2007

Yellowstone Briding 2: Raptors

Near the west entrance to Yellowstone there is an active bald eagles nest in a tree very close to the road. It is an Eagle Nesting Management Area and so people and cars are not allowed to stop or walk with in 50 yards of the nest. There are spots outside this area where you can stop and get a descent picture. A couple of times the adult eagle was on the nest as we passed and the light was good so we stopped and took a few shots.

There was at least one chick in the nest. I caught a couple glimpses of a wing as I was shooting but the nest is very large and the chicks were not yet old enough to start venturing out to the branches surrounding the nest.
We also spotted some osprey, sometimes called fishing hawk. We sat and watched one fish in the Gibbons River on Monday morning. It would fly over the water looking for a fish. Then it would stop and hover, almost kestrel like, over it's target and then fold up it's wings and drive down plunging into the river.
It was very cool to watch. Unfortunately this time he was not successful.
Later in the week I spotted an osprey in Lamar Valley near the Lamar River. It was sitting on a tree that had one time housed an osprey nest but the tree had died and the nest had been abandon. I went in for a closer look and the osprey took of and flew a short way down the Lamar River. I watched where he flew and saw that he had gone to where his mate was sitting on a nest.
The nest was on the top of a tree that was at the shore of the river. This left the nest slightly below my eye level as I stood on the hill above. I took some shots and hoped to get a glimpse of some eggs or chicks in the nest. Unfortunately I began to draw attention from other park visitors who stopped to find out what I was taking pictures of. The nest was not visible from the road because it was below the hill so most people just drove past not aware of the nesting osprey and I really wanted to keep things that way so I packed up and moved on.

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