Today I decided to go for broke… I decided to leave my 1.4x lens extender on the entire day. Doing so makes focusing a bit more difficult, the lens and extender combination results in a minimum aperture of F8 and a focusing restriction of only one focus point which I set to the center point only. However, the reward is great, another 40% magnification over the usual 400mm focal length that my lens provides. Much to my surprise, I had a great day, most images were tack sharp with possibly even better results than I get using a nine focus point zone!
My day began as always on the riverbank of the South Platte in Eleven Mile Canyon just watching the sunrise show develop. Heavy rains the night before resulted in a dense fog situation which apparently most of the wildlife took as an excuse to sleep in 🙁 Luckily the Great Blue Heron decided to fly by with no warning and I was happy to find that I managed to get the shot anyway!
I waited in the fog until I was convinced that the usual cast of characters including the bald eagles, were not going to make an appearance before I made the short hike to the osprey nest. I was greeted at the nest with a flurry of activity as the youngsters took turns flying up and down the valley while I scrambled up the steep slope to my own perch! It remained a fairly entertaining morning at the nest with a lot of flight by all four of the family. Fortunately, maybe due to the fog they confined most of the flights to a few yards from the river which made judging image contrast much easier! I was able to capture a couple of the season’s best pictures, despite continuing with the
1.4x and only one focus point!
I was also privileged to witness a continuous parade of various critters, including this crazy hummingbird checking out the osprey! I need to research this but there seems to be some kind of relationship between the hummingbirds and the osprey. We’ve seen the hummingbirds visit a number of times this summer and they seem to be paid little notice by the huge raptors, they’ve looked at them curiously but
have never made an aggressive move whatsoever towards the lightning quick tiny little birds. While I was sitting on my favorite rock high on the opposite bank I was visited by a doe and her fawn, a colorful little goldfinch, and a cute little tree squirrel 🙂
As noon approached the osprey lunchtime ritual started to develop. The youngest juvenile appeared and began to call loudly to his family. The father osprey took up his perch high on the canyon wall on his favorite dead pine. Mama osprey however took an unusual
action by perching on a tree on our side of the bank not to far from where I was sitting. The other juvenile had departed some time before and didn’t return. As the youngster complained the mother ignored his call and didn’t go for a fish.
We watched until the heat of the day overtook the canyon and decided a new paradigm must be in place. Early in the day one of the juveniles had a fish in the nest, perhaps one
he managed to catch by himself. We surmised that perhaps the mama was trying to convince the youngest to go fishing for himself.
Eventually we made the trek back to our vehicles and just as I was ready to leave, I spotted the mama osprey overhead. She made a couple of circles right above me as if to say goodbye and then flew off towards the lake, ending weeks of speculation about where they were finding the fish! Perhaps now I’ll try hanging out by the lake for a while to see if I can capture the victorious moment when dinner is extracted from the lake!
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