Less than 3 seconds elapse from the Osprey initiating dive to emergence from the surf and flight, fish in talons.

A sequence of high speed shots of what the Osprey does best. For this, the sixth and final post of this series (Click me for the first post, “Endless Searching“), we follow the bird in a dramatic plummet into the surf until it rises, catch in claws.

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“All Elements In Place”

Late morning of January 20, 2019 I headed out with the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III mounted with the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L USM lens for handheld shots. Many elements aligned for these shots: weather, equipment, placement among them. The angle of the sun at 11:21 am was not optimal, but the cloud cover made up for it.

Click any photograph for a larger view.
The Day’s Setting


The dive impact happens in less than 2 seconds.

My observation is the reason the wings are extended is to maintain control of the dive…..
…..I have seen these dives terminate inches from the water with a u-shaped swoop.
Talons are extended in the final seconds.

The Strike

Less than one second from point of impact until emgergence and flight.

Instant of impace with wings still extended.


What strength, to lift off from the water.
Catch in talons
Copyright 2022, Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

27 thoughts on “Dive!!

  1. I often see ospreys diving for fish in our bay; your series of captures is great. I couldn’t understand how they could do it without getting hurt, and I finally learned that they dive with their feet thrust forward on either side of their head, allowing them to keep the fish in sight throughout the dive. Since their feet hit the water first, that cuts through the waterโ€™s surface and helps to protect the head. And they don’t need noseplugs! Their nostrils close to keep the water out.

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