Nesting

December through February is Florida Osprey nesting season.

“Florida ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) commonly nest on power poles, communication towers, water navigation devices, lighting fixtures, outdoor billboards and other man-made structures as well as in decaying or dead trees.” This quote from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site is a fitting introduction. For this, the fourth post of this series (Click me for the first post, “Endless Searching“), I explore images of Osprey nesting behavior.

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“Other Man-Made Structures”

Early morning winter Cocoa Beach walks offer a new experience with each dawn be it a change in wind, light, or beach-combing offerings. This looming crane was a consistent specter the entire month, poised over a downtown parking garage under construction.

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On the Lookout

Distant Figures

Each winter morning January 2019 I left our ocean side condo to walk the beach, taking equipment according to a whim. For this series I used the Sony Alpha 700 with a variable “Zoom” lens. In this next shot the focal length was set to maximum.

Searching the internet (“Florida Osprey behavior”), a link from http://www.naturesacademy.org states, in Florida, Osprey nesting season is December through February. The following series of photographs clearly show an Osprey with nesting material. The header image for this post clearly shows the markings of the individual holding a large branch.

The second individual is close to the same size, it is a reasonable conclusion the two are flying together. The series was taken in a 33 second time span.

The two were flying around the crane and it is beyond imagination they’d be successful building on an actively used crane. Would construction come to a halt until the nest was abandoned? I wonder.

In following days there were no signs of nesting behavior on the crane.

Copyright 2022, Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Shoulder to Shoulder

Snatch and Grab Shopper

“They walk among us” can evoke horror, still it is a fitting description for the many species successful in an ecological niche occupied by humans. This is the third post of a series featuring the Osprey of Cocoa Beach, Florida. The first post is “Endless Searching,” In this post we follow a householder on a shopping expedition.

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Observation

Search internet references on Florida Osprey you find there is a mixture of year-round residents and migrants passing through spring/fall to points farther north. This being January, my brilliant conclusion is these are residents of Cocoa Beach, maintaining nests. My next post will have more on this.

Each winter morning January 2019 I left our ocean side condo to walk the beach, taking equipment according to a whim. For this series I used the Sony Alpha 700 with a variable lens. In this first shot, the watchful pose of the hunting Osprey is apparent, long glide with head slightly down.

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On the Lookout

Dive!!

Once these hawks entered my dim awareness and their habits understood, with a lot of luck I was able to click the button at the right time. You can see in the previous post, “Fishing Creatures,” how little time elapsed during a dive, the split second opportunity seen in the following photograph.

Committed

Wow, that is impact. The bird is poised to grab one fish, spotted under the water 50+ feet away, talons extended.

Into the Drink

Success rate? Those days in January, if the Osprey hit the water more than 50% of the time it flew away with a fish.

Our seven year old grandson is an enthusiastic fisherman and might be able to identify this catch. In the distance, on the horizon is Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, the lighthouse and space launch towers .

An image of Osprey / Human closeness. The long lens tends to bring objects closer together, the Osprey is far away from the early morning walkers.

A reader, “ekurie”, in observing Ospreys noticed the catch is oriented to aerodynamic, placed head first toward the direction of flight. The hawk is using the evolutionary adaptations of the fish, to reduce drag in the water, to flying through the air.

This snatch and grab shopper is headed straight home to a nest beyond the shore front condos.

A Well Deserved Meal.
Copyright 2019, Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Underground Railroad

Autumn Wonder

We have often travelled Lower Creek Road as an alternate route to visit my son and his family who live in Freeville, a village named for the activity of the Underground Railroad. After noticing this sign in passing for years, this week we stopped on a glorious autumn morning to capture it. I had packed the Sony Alpha 700 dslr for just such an opportunity.

Just off the road, under a maple tree in full autumn color (yellow), ground covered with fallen leaves (brown) on a fine early October morning, the sign reads, “New York, UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, HOME OF WILLIAM HANFORD AND WIFE ALTHA C. TODD, WHO SHELTERED FUGITIVE SLAVES ON THE WAY TO CANADA AND FREEDOM, STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT 1932”. These dark blue background, bright yellow letter signed are found throughout this region and much appreciated.

An added plus for me is the acceptance of both photographs by Getty Istock. Click this link to view a selection of my Getty photography in and around Ithaca, New York.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Fulacht Fiadh III

Two Huts and a Hearth

Drombeg has two huts adjoining the Fulacht Fiadh with a connecting path.

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Hut B incorporates a rock lined hearth that possibly served as an oven.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Fulacht Fiadh II

Survey of elements

Yesterday’s post was an overview of this archeological site associated with the Drombeg Stone Ring of County Cork, Republic of Ireland. Today, we explore the elements of these fascinating remnants from the late Bronze Age, over 3,000 years ago. (

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It is amazing the rock wall survived human need for the valuable wall stones. Portions were stolen, though for the most part we can see enough to understand.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Fulacht Fiadh I

BBQ Stew Pot?

Notice the groupings of visitors in the middle distance of Pam’s photograph, gathered around remains of late Bronze age elements.

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There is a sign to explain…

In modern Ireland the word fulacht means barbeque and the archeological sites with characteristics in common, such as a water source, health and pit, are named “Fulacht fiadh,” derived from Old Irish sources. In all cases the link is to some kind of preparation activity involving heat and moisture. Found throughout Ireland, Great Britan and the Isle of Man where the sites are called burnt mounds. The Drombeg Fulacht fiadh exemplifies all characterists. There is a horseshoe shaped rock walled/banked, now a remnant, enclosure, entrance to the south. In the middle is a pit, at Drombeg lined with rock, a spring on one side, a hearth on the other. A stone saddle quern, used for grinding grain, was nearby Adjacent huts, rock walls with post holes, do not suggest a settlement, but rather a temporary use.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Drombeg Stone Circle IX

Seventeen Stones

Pam posing with wind blown hair on the rock outcrop I used to achieve site overviews. In medium distance, other visitors gather around another site feature.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Drombeg Stone Circle VIII

Seventeen Stones

The photograph shared the last Drombeg posting needed hours of reworking before it was ready for submission to Stock Photography services. Ireland photography is my “money maker”, so the effort is work this.

Today, I share the image as it existed in camera, to the final product. The most detailed work was removing the human figures in the upper right corner. The camera sensor was problematic, with an light accumulation of dust. Below are the two images, each alone and as slideshow for flipping back and forth.

What differences can you observe? (comments, please)

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llllll

vvv

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Drombeg Stone Circle VI

Seventeen Stones

Here is one of my finest photographs from that morning. The ocean view is a reason Drombeg is one of the most popular neolithic sites.

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The camera is set on a tripod positioned in front of the recumbent.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Drombeg Stone Circle V

Seventeen Stones

The Celtic Sea is close to this site, unoccupied since 800 BC, may be as old as 1100 BC according to radiocarbon dating from 1957 excavations.

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The Celtic Sea is close to this site, unoccupied since 800 BC, may be as old as 1100 BC according to radiocarbon dating from 1957 excavations. Thirteen of the original seventeen stones form a circle 31 feet across. Two portal stones face a recumbent stone, together forming a axis pointing to the sun position at sunrise on the winter solstice. One of the most visited Neolithic sites in Ireland, it required some patience to achieve an image without human figures.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved