The Great Journey in Photography

Birds of a Feather

Osprey with fish at Bolsa Chica

300mm f7.1 250iso 1/750sec

About this photo: This Osprey was photographed at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach California. If you click on the image the larger picture clearly shows that it has been tagged and the left leg has been shaved. There are tags on both legs also which indicates to me that this bird may have been recently released into the wild. I had first seen the Osprey six months prior to this photo and on numerous occasions afterward for at least a year. Difficult to photograph because they usually perch far from the ground. A skilled fisherman this bird can catch fish of a rather large size. It always returns to its high perch and in about a half an hour eats the entire fish. The fish you see in the picture is actually one of the smaller ones I have seen it pull out of the sea. The photo below is from the first time I saw the Osprey and you can see it was tagged at that time. It was taken with what considered to be a very soft lens and detail is not very good.


Getting back to the discussion a few weeks ago about feathers, I was wondering about tail feathers and what they do. Tail feathers are part of the flight feathers. Flight feathers encompass the primaries, secondaries, those are the wing flight feathers and the others are the tail feathers or rectrices. Those feathers act as a rudder, they control steering and balance. I should say that they help control the steering because if you remember the primaries are also critical for attitude and that is critical factor of steering in flight. Birds have ten to twelve tail feathers. According to Wikipedia:

Rectrices (from the Latin for “helmsman”), which help the bird to brake and steer in flight, lie in a single horizontal row on the rear margin of the anatomical tail. Only the central pair are attached (via ligaments) to the tail bones; the remaining rectrices are embedded into the rectricial bulbs, complex structures of fat and muscle that surround those bones. Rectrices are always paired, with a vast majority of species having six pairs. They are absent in grebes and some ratites, and greatly reduced in size in penguins.[8][17][18][19] Manygrouse species have more than 12 rectrices; some (including Ruffed Grouse and Hazel Grouse) have a number that varies among individuals.[20]Domestic pigeons have a highly variable number, due to centuries of selective breeding.

OK folks-that’s it for today. Just a couple of things to note between the two pictures, the good one was made in the winter and the other was made in June on one of the longest days of that year. One was made with the Tamron 200-500mm lens a good lens but the other with the amazing Nikon 300mm f2.8. It shows that it really pays to invest in good gear and to have the patience and desire to wait for the good moments, and know the behaviors of your subject.

Thanks for stopping by.

One response

  1. That’s a beautiful bird and that first photo is wonderful.

    November 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm

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