When the Only Thing You can do is to Stand in Awe

Full-Contact Nature Sport

We had taken a run to The Office in the late afternoon. Mostly just to check on the progress of Kitty and Kalev-the Brave.

And as the evening sunshine warmed us against the chill of the wind, down the river flat, in the crisp golden light a steady wing beat carried at quite breathtaking speed, an Osprey.  Actually by now I suppose it should be “the Osprey”.


This bird seems to have made, at least for the moment, the area along a bend in the Werribee River, near the Open Range Zoo, its roosting or resting spot.
It is to tell, that an Osprey is not a regular bird in the area, infact not a regular anywhere along the coast in our area. But.
For Osprey reasons this bird has become at the least, regular, and perhaps at the best, a resident in the area.  It seemed to have no qualms about the direction it was coming from, nor where it was going to, and a couple of humans with cameras up, and mouths wide open in awe, were it seems of little relevance to this bird as it swung in over the open river flat, slipped through the trees by the river, dropped its speed, and alighted on a branch not that far from us. I’ll give you, say, 20metres.

And there it sat. Relaxed, resting and unconcerned about our presence.

And the light was slipping away.  The sun dropped below the treeline, then the river cliffs, and we were in the late afternoon moment before the sunlight disappeared from the sky.  Gloom.

The Osprey, then decided the time was right to move to the larger tree in the open area, and it simply dropped off the branch, gained speed and with no more than a wingflap or two was on the open tree.
We might have stayed, but it seemed that the moment was over, and the bird settled in to preen, readjust its perching location and await the morning.

Now that I’ve had a good look at it close up, its likely to be an immature bird, as it still carries a small brown bib and collar.  And from Stephen Debus, “Birds of Prey of Australian”, I have to conclude its a female. However, I may well be completely wrong and no doubt I’ll be shown the error of my ways.
UPDATE: 21 Sept 2016:  aussiebirder, who has much more skill and knowledge and experience with Osprey suggests that it is a female, and a mature bird.  The eye is that rich Yellow, a sign of an adult.  Juveniles generally—at least for most raptors I know— have tend to have a brown eye colouring.  Such as Black-shouldered Kites before they take on the deep red of the adult.  So that helps explain something.  Thanks AB.

EE made the astute observation that perhaps Bird Photography is more about “Luck” than anything else.  And as I turned up the track toward home, I glanced over my shoulder at The Osprey, as it sat, so completely in its element in the last of the light—I gave it a nod of thanks.

I had to agree it is indeed a lot of “Luck”, and as Jon Young has said, “Set aside any assumption that its behaviour is random and meaningless.” “It is a sacred and connected silence”, and that’s the thought I travelled home with— sacred and connected— It may be luck, but then Birding is a Full-Contact Nature Sport (Jon Young again).


Here tis.


Steady wing flaps bought the bird down the river toward us.
Steady wing flaps bought the bird down the river toward us.
The perch it chose may not have been the best light, but, it was close.
The perch it chose may not have been the best light, but, it was close.
Rather enjoyed the sparkling light through the leaves.
Rather enjoyed the sparkling light through the leaves.
I never dreamed I'd be doing Osprey Portraits
I never dreamed I’d be doing Osprey Portraits
Out in the open, it settled for the evening I suspect.
Out in the open, it settled for the evening I suspect.


9 thoughts on “When the Only Thing You can do is to Stand in Awe

  1. Wonderful shots David. Yes, there is the luck of being in the right place at the right time, but you still have to get all the technical stuff right to get shots like yours! As my other half says, “Luck favours the prepared.”


  2. Beautiful light and wonderfully sharp photos again DJ. Thanks so much for sharing.
    I love being back in the Australian bush through your lense.
    Cheers Mate!


  3. Great pics David. Most of my Osprey pics usually have them carrying or eating a large fish, as each time I see them they are usually bringing their catch in. This is a beautiful specimen of a mature female I think, because the eye is a resounding yellow and not brown. As with most immature birds the brown colouring dominates the immature eye as well as the plumage in other birds. I could not see the spots on the underside of the wing to tell more than this,


    1. G,day AB,
      Thanks for the input on the mature female. I only have a few interactions with the bird and this is really the first encounter. Most of the inflght shots havea been at a distance, although there is on a previous blog and on flickr
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/birdsaspoetry/29049629473/in/photostream, an open wing stretch. Might help?

      There is a distinct possibility what we actually have is two birds. Although no one seems to have co-ordinated the dates/times/locations as yet. (it is being worked on).
      This one really seems to have made the area a rest spot at the very least. The river is very shallow here, and tidal, but I don’t know if we’d see it fishing in there. Be pretty amazing, as we are already pretty amazed. 🙂
      Thanks again for the help on the id, I will follow it up a bit more.



      Liked by 1 person

  4. G’day David,
    I am so glad you you were lucky with the Osprey I’m not even jealous. Finally we know who she is. I’ve been lucky 3 times so far and I’m scared to go there again, because how far can I push my luck?
    Your photos are great. Thanks!


    1. G,day Adam,
      Thanks for that. Its so hard in a couple of photos to really show what was happening with this bird. The direct track along the river flat, towards the ‘Osprey’ tree was no accidental path, or just a bit of accidental direction. It was on a mission, had clearly determined where to go, and as I keep suggesting, it was following its “Roadmap” or GPS plotter 🙂
      Our presence was not seen either as an inconvenience or even anything to be bothered by.
      I also have a theory that birds have quite a good “face recognition’ system, and after a few connections they are able to distinguish us, as well as we do oneanother.
      So,as long as we behave or approach in the same way each time, they don’t have to recalculate and become quite settled.
      I reckon you’d be pretty safe turning up again. Give the bird a Nod, it might just respond.

      Good luck


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