Friday, August 26, 2016

Sink or Swim: A Young Osprey's Lesson in Survival, Part 2

Part 2 of "Sink or Swim: A Young Osprey's Lesson in Survival"

The young Osprey, still struggling to get her very large fish to the other side of the channel, gets back to her swimming. She has to keep moving!

She is one determined Osprey. Survival is what it's all about. If she gets a meal, it will be all worth the effort but she must survive this challenge of bringing her catch to shore. She keeps paddling forward. 

A closer look at this beauty.

Stretching her wings out. 

Digs down into the water. 

Pushes down on her wings and propels her body out and pushes it forward almost a full body length. 

More strokes but the fish fights back. 

She uses both her wings to offset the fish's struggle. 

Powers forward. 

She appears to be getting a little tired. 

A good look at both the prey and the predator.

She sees that the shoreline is close now and it gives her a new surge of energy to go forward. 

The Osprey is getting closer to the west bank. 

A few more strokes and she will reach land. 

She keeps up the swim strokes and looks for a good place to land.

Big effort to get to the bank.

The fish must feel the shore too. It struggles harder. 
A few more strokes and she will be at the bank. 

Watching the Osprey's huge struggle to get to firm ground. 

The fish wants to be in deep water and it pulls back towards the middle of the channel. Now the Osprey has to muscle back towards the bank.

It's a life struggle all the way. 

The Osprey wants the firm ground and the fish wants to get free. 

She hits solid ground. She is now half hopping and half swimming.

A gigantic struggle goes on between the bird and the fish as the fish pulls the Osprey back towards deeper water. 

The Osprey is swept down the channel a few feet by the struggling fish but gets control and makes her way towards the mud bank. 

She is now using her wings to creep onto the bank

Few more strokes and she is almost there. But the fish has other plans. The fight goes on and the Osprey is pulled back into the water again. 

 Again she struggles to get to shore.

The Osprey manages to pull herself onto the bank using her wings to lift her body onto the muddy shore. 

Another fight. The Osprey has to struggle with every bit of her strength to get back on shore. 

She is getting quite a thrashing. 

One more attempt to get on firm ground. 

A major effort and she makes progress lifting her body on to the pickleweeds using her wings to climb up onto the muddy bank. 

She is using her wings and upper body holding on to the pickleweeds so the fish does not pull her back into the water. Trying to get her right leg to grip land and pull her forward but she has to bring that huge fish forward too that is stuck to her left leg.

The fish starts thrashing wildly. The young Osprey loses her footing and face plants onto the muddy bank. 

Now she is almost like a seal trying to use her wings like flippers to inch forward. 

Giant flapping of her wings and she is upright and moving forward dragging that huge catch with her. She actually uses her wings to fly up further onto the pickleweed bank but only gains a few inches ground instead. The bank is too steep to bring that fish forward. The fish's tail wedges under the pickleweeds and makes it impossible for her to drag it over the berm.

The Osprey tries to lift off a few more times flapping her wings but barely gets the fish up out of the water. Looks like she is making a decision to let go of her prey. He talons are starting to unlock from the fish. 

Using both her talons, she makes a huge effort to lift the fish. She isn't able to get airborne but drags the fish completely out of the water. 

Amazing effort by the Osprey to try and get the fish further over the muddy bank covered with pickleweeds.

She uses all the power of her huge wings but can not bring the fish past the pickleweeds. 
She beats her wings half a dozen times or more but there is no progress in moving the fish from where it is.
Few more pumps of her beautiful wings to dislodge the fish from where it is. 
The fish isn't moving and the Osprey appears to be getting exhausted. 
She has made a decision. The Osprey's talon starts to disconnect form the prey. 
Now there is only one talon sticking into the side of the fish. 
It's done. The Young Osprey disconnects all her talons from the fish .

Close up of her letting go of the fish.
She grabs the pickle weed with her right talon scrambling forward with her left.

As the fish is slipping back into the lagoon, the Osprey is doing her best to keep her balance. She has grabbed on to the pickleweeds with both her talons. 
Now she is beating her wings. Maybe it's a way to dry them off quickly. 
The fish makes a splash as she pumps her wings up and down.

Her wings are moving but she stays put. The fish thrashes in the shallow until it reaches deeper water. 
The Osprey is still pumping her wings. 
Now I am getting concerned that her left leg is tangled in the pickleweeds. 
She keeps moving her right leg but can't seem to get her left leg and talons out of the pickleweeds. 
 She twists her body at an angle and shows us that her right leg is free. 
Half a dozen more wing flaps. 
She stops and rests. Looks towards the camera and I say, "Yes, you have had a rough day. Hope it gets better"!
Now she twists her body in the other direction and gives her wings a full length pump. 
Lunges forward, her right talons are seen with a clump of pickleweeds. She proceed to free her left leg out of the tangle too.  Wow, I am feeling quite exhausted just watching all that this young bird has gone through this morning!
Out she jumps with both talons empty! She is now free to fly. Looks a little ruffled up, showing her displeasure of the situation. However, she has survived a very serious life lesson today. 

She flies back to her favorite palm tree where she begins some serious preening. Time for me to head for home too. I wish her better luck with her fishing and to keep safe. Later that day, as I was driving back from the grocery store, I saw her with a much smaller fish. She was eating it on top of her favorite telephone pole. All is well at the San Elijo Lagoon!

Have a relaxing day everyone!