Monday, May 2, 2011

Ospreys;Late March Spring Migration through Northern Illinois

An Osprey soaring overhead looking for its next meal, Phoenix, AZ; 12/26/09.
While hiking through Rock Cut State Park in late March, I was surprised to hear a sweet whistle and before I knew it, an Osprey flew over carrying a fish in its talons. I thought, "Cool! An Osprey in our very own State Park." When I notified E-bird, Illinois, I was asked for proof since at that time of year this was apparently the first sighting of an Osprey in our area. The best picture I had for proof  wasn't a quality photo (Below top), but it was proof enough of what it was. I returned a day later, hoping to see it again, which I did (Below bottom pic). Well, since then, others have spotted the Osprey as much as two weeks later; however, I don't believe it has been seen since early April, undoubtedly moving on to its summer hunting grounds. Through April Ospreys have been sighted more often in northern Illinois as it is migrating through on its way to the Northern shores of the Great Lakes and on into Canada and Alaska.  Ospreys also will spend the summer along the Atlantic coast as well as the Northwest and the northern Rockies. I have seen Ospreys in Rocky Mountain National Park as well as in Montana and Idaho.
The best pic I was able to get of an Osprey with its catch at Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 3/26/2011.

The same Osprey a day later at Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 3/27/2011.
In winter Ospreys will migrate south to the South Pacific coasts of California, the Baja Peninsula, as well as Florida, and the Gulf states. In December of 2009 while hiking the Butcher Jones Trail at Saguaro Lake, Arizona, I was fortunate enough to not only see an Osprey make its dive and catch a fish, but was able to capture it with a burst of photos (see my 6/27/10 post with link below...
Below are a few more photos from that series:
An Osprey locating its prey on Saguaro Lake ...

The same Osprey pulling its catch out of the lake ...

...and taking off with its prize; Saguaro Lake, AZ; 12/29/2009.
Just a week ago, while we were hiking around Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, Val saw an Osprey flying off carrying a fish that she said was almost as big as he was. By the time she got my attention to try to take a picture it was gone, and I missed the opportunity. Ospreys are always fun to watch, and I hope someday I get another chance to capture one in its dive catching a fish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i live in litchfield Il and was fishing at the old lake aka the pines,and seen a osprey flying around the lake and the dive into the water multiple time to catch fish it was the first time seeing one in real life it was indeed a spectacular sight i went three time early in the morning and seen it every time i tryed to get ahold of the state police amd game warden i felt someone should know about this bird but no luck