Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Osprey's Catch on Armand Bayou

In my last blog post, I shared not-so-great photos of Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC), and mentioned I’d post more photos from that last-day-of-February visit.  Repeating myself:  none of the photos are stellar photos—but I was pleased with multiple “catches” of bird behavior.

Today I wanted to share photos that show an Osprey with her almost too-big-to-handle catch of the day.

But I wanted to first share a little bit of information about Armand Bayou Nature Center, in response to Hazel’s question (a loyal blog reader, and blog writer of the blog “Class A Greyhounds”), from her comment to my Monday post.

First, as a birder, I would not include ABNC on my top 10 list of birding hot-spots on the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas.  But it is a lovely preserve, with wooded and prairie trails, and it serves as an important environmental oasis in an area that has, and is, undergoing rapid development.  

For those of us that are 1-2 hours away, it is a great fall, winter, or spring day-trip.  For those RVing or other visitors that plan a multi-week visit to the Texas upper coast, I’d include it on a list of places worth visiting.  The entry fee for adults is $4. 

I don’t know a lot about the ABNC other than it is on Armand Bayou (one of the many bayous, tributaries and other brackish water estuaries that make their way to Galveston Bay).  But from their website, it is a non-profit organization with an emphasis on habitat preservation and environmental education.  

ABNC includes multiple buildings that serve as education centers, I think mostly focused on children.  My visit last Saturday gave me sighting of a group of children, with adult supervision, moving through fields with what I call “butterfly nets”.  With birding as my focus for the day, I moved in the opposite direction.

I would encourage readers to visit the Armand Bayou Nature Center’s webpage, as it holds a good amount of interesting information.  I used Google to find their page.  As a side note, most of the Armand Bayou coastal preserve (other than ABNC) is managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife, complete with a paddling trail.  More info on this coastal preserve and paddling trail can be found via Google and/or the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Two of the joining wooded trails of ABNC give visibility to Armand Bayou.  My saying goodbye to February (my favorite month) found me watching and shooting poor-lighting photos of an Osprey with her large catch-of-the-day:

It is the behavior that I found fascinating.  If you click-on and magnify these poor-quality photos, you’ll note that the Osprey is attempting to balance herself, with the large fish, on a not-so-great table-top snag:

In the next three photos, you'll note she is literally airborne, hovering over the fish.  I also noted that she appears to be dining within the fish's mouth.  I don't know if that has to do with killing the fish to stop its movement, or as a particularly fond delicacy to be had first (or some other reason).  I'm certain better birders and ornithologists would know:

I watched her continued struggle to find balance on this snag until she finally gave up and made the decision to carry her heavy meal to another spot:

I watched her struggle with flight and the weight of the fish.  She'd gain a little altitude and then drop back down, almost touching the water:

The following photo gives reason for my ability to watch without her knowledge; I was behind dense shrubs and trees and attempting to shoot between branches:

In fact, after flying on to the left, she circled and came back to the right, passing me again.  By this point I watched with amazed eyes rather than camera.  All I know is this excellent fisherman was not letting go of her great catch!

Happy March 4th!  (the only command of the year)

1 comment:

  1. These are great photos! They sure are telling a story!


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