Fly By Here, I Dare You

I swear we are cursed. Once again, our Texas trip has been hit with an unexpected cold snap. Been off and on while on the border – 70’s one day, 50’s next. Moved north a bit to check out some other sites and now we are looking at temps down to 30F. Granted our driveway is currently covered with snow, but come on Texas, let’s keep the boiler on until we have to head back! Meanwhile, things are still going well on the “Average Year” front. Initial surges were expected and now the daily hauls have drastically dropped as the easy adds (at least in this region) are mostly done with only a few unfortunate misses. Did tin two rarities which were amazing – sorry, you have to wait for those reveals until 2025. Just kidding, but at least until we return home. As Ron has already returned to Chicago, decided I’d go ahead and make a new page to help us keep tabs on our progress. Added a new item on the nav bar appropriately titled The Birding Chronicles (direct link here). Planning to update it at least monthly and random times in between – at points when I am ahead of course ha!

Osprey found in Audubon Bird Sanctuary at Dauphin Island in April 2021

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our time with Mr. and Mrs. Yellow Eyes.

One of the interesting things about our little competition is a renewed interest in the common birds – even ones I absolutely hate. Take for instance the Blue Jay. Normally, I spot one of those asshats, scoff, mutter some profanities and continue on. When Ron and I came upon our first one this year I scoffed, snapped a picture, muttered some profanities and continued on. Granted, from that point on it was business as usual. In contrast, I always enjoy shooting today’s featured feathered friend. The Osprey is a raptor that will quickly fill up a digital card in the field. Sitting, flying hunting, nesting it doesn’t matter, like a magnet The Beast will find it and tag it.

Osprey found in Audubon Bird Sanctuary at Dauphin Island in April 2021

Guessing the Osprey is second only to Eagles in my most shot category. Ironically, they are also probably the most deleted image in the digital darkroom due to soft shot after blown out shot after underexposed shot. The sharp contrast between the brown and white feathering doesn’t leave a lot of room for exposure results. Couple that with their fast hunting techniques and .. well, thank the Kodak engineers for the digital age where a button on the keyboard erases all mistakes cost free. This series of shots managed to make it through the trash key gauntlet.

Osprey found in Audubon Bird Sanctuary at Dauphin Island in April 2021

Ron and I were birding the Audubon Birding Sanctuary on Dauphin Island last April (I cannot believe it is already ’22) when we found these. Yes, there are actually two specimens here. The two images directly above are likely the female. She spent the most time in the nest itself only occasionally heading out along with the suspected male. When they were both at the nest, the male would quickly move to the top of the higher side supports for a better view – almost daring anything to fly too close at their own peril. The bookend shots captured that intimidating posture.

Osprey found in Audubon Bird Sanctuary at Dauphin Island in April 2021

For those interested, we located these specimens at the back of the sanctuary straight out from the parking lot. If you take the trail around the pond (which was flooded the first day we were there), there is a short path that take you to an area with benches perfectly positioned to view the artificial nest platforms at the edge of the beach. They are likely hunting that pond as we initially located one of these two sitting in the treeline intently staring at the water. Maybe looking for the Gator that roams those waters. Little did we know at the time they had taken up residence less than 200′ away. Note, this nest platform is still a ways out there, so if you head there, bring your long glass.

Will call it a post there. Wanted to get something out while I had a break in the action. For those back home, stay warm!

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