Fish Eagles - the love affair - continued

This year so far were pretty hectic with very little time for photography but I grabbed at the opportunity to spend time over the weekend with the fish eagles at the nearby Nandoni dam. Like the previous occasion we were desperate to get a couple of shots of the lone overwintering Osprey but he is very shy. My friend got one shot at 1000 mm but I did not even try as it was just too far for my trusted 500 mm Sigma.

The fish eagles made up for this loss and we had several encounters with the two resident pairs, including the opportunity to watch the one pair sending off their young one into the big wide world. I chose the Nikkor 70 - 200mm lens for the action shots for its faster focusing and because it is not as heavy as the Sigma. The reach is not that of the 500mm but I decided to rather crop later. I used the Sigma on the D80 for the still shots.  Here are a couple of the images we were fortunate to get:

                                           Nikon D80, Sigma 150 - 500mm lens @ 290 mm, 1/1250 @f 6.3

 

The parents ( female bottom right and male bottom left) chasing of the youngster after he tried to steal the males catch. This was taken near the nest. This action caught me off guard as I was photographing the male eating when the youngster suddenly appeared out of nowhere, wanting a part of the action. I had to quickly change my settings and use the heavy Sigma handheld to try to catch the action. The male dropped his catch in the water(which he later retrieved, giving me another photo opportunity ) and he and the female chased the youngster off.

Fish Eagle fight

                                            Nikon D80, Sigma 150 - 500mm lens @ 290 mm, 1/1250 @f 6.3

                             Nikon D700, Nikon 70 - 200mm lens@200mm, 1/2000 @ f6.3, ISO 400

The male coming in for the strike, note the effect of the wind created by the wings on the water. The action is frozen by the high shutter speed and can thus not really show the speed at witch this happens. I can give the assurance that this happens at high speed and an image can never do justice to the event. Watching this, hearing the wind on the wings and the sound of the hit on the water ensures an adrenalin rush that gives new meaning to the old afrikaans hunting term, "bokkoors" and one can easily miss the shot!

                                                     Nikon D700, Nikon 70 - 200mm lens@200mm, 1/2000 @ f6.3, ISO 400

Even a miss makes for a fantastic shot!

                                       Nikon D80, Sigma 150 - 500mm lens @ 500mm, 1/1250 @f9, ISO 400

After the action one can only sit back and admire this magnificent bird  enjoying the meal.

                         Nikon D80, Sigma 150 - 500mm lens @ 500mm, 1/1250 @f9, ISO 400

The male enjoying the meal.

I hope that you enjoyed watching these images as much as I did making them!

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Comment by Pietman Muller on April 6, 2013 at 6:57

Thanks for the comments Danie. Ek was inderdaad baie in my skik om dit te beleef. Amper het ons tuis gebly want daar was vroegoggend bietjie reën maar toe tog deurgedruk vir 'n fantastiese dag.

Comment by Danie Bester on April 6, 2013 at 5:39

What an ordeal to capture Pietman! Thanks for telling the story and the great images!

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