We were told to bring our long lens–or rent one! That was one message that many of us did not listen to when we went to the San Francisco Bay Osprey Days Festival.
During this two-day event, you could take a boat tour, car tour or walking tour. All tours allowed for seeing the huge osprey nests. The free car and walking tours were led by volunteer docents from the Mare Island Preserve organization. They also hosted a visitors center where they offered us drinks and delicious desserts, asking only for a small donation. The docents were extremely knowledgeable about the osprey and their annual nesting habits. And, fortunately, they knew where each nest was located. We were also shown a couple of abandoned nests. We may have been able to locate the nests on our own, but I do get dizzy when I keep looking straight up in the air! Yes, the nests are high and are typically on phone and/or utility poles.
Viewing the nests was a challenge. My 300 mm lens barely made it. I only captured one nest where the birds were in focus because I was standing on a bridge. While shooting that nest, we saw a mother bird fly in with a fish to the three babies, she puts it in the nest, dad flies in, dad sits with mom and the babies, and then he flies off with the fish! I caught it all with my camera. The docent said that many dads will eat part of the fish before the babies who get the leftovers. And, I’m wondering, when does the mom eat? Didn’t she catch the fish?
Fortunately, at the other nests, one of the docents had a small telescope and shared it with us. At least we could all see the birds up close. I am going to post some of the shots that did not catch the birds in focus because I do want you to see where and how high these nests are.
After both tours, we did some shooting down by the docks. Again, I tried some HDR. I’m doing this as a two part post. First, enjoy the action at the osprey nest.