CRYSTAL RIVER OSPREYS


First liftoff of surviving baby Osprey June 5, 2018
CRYSTAL RIVER< FLORIDA

Crystal River is at the heart of the Nature Coast of Florida. The city is situated around Kings Bay, which is spring-fed and so keeps a constant 72 °F (22 °C) temperature year round. A cluster of 50 springs designated as a first-magnitude system feeds Kings Bay. A first-magnitude system discharges 100 cubic feet or more of water per second, which equals about 64 million gallons of water per day. Because of this discharge amount, the Crystal River Springs group is the second largest springs group in Florida, the first being Wakulla Springs in Wakulla County near Tallahassee. Kings Bay can be home to over 400 manatees during the winter when the water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico cools, and is the only place in the United States where people can legally interact with them in their natural conditions without that interaction being viewed as harassment by law enforcement agencies. Tourism based on watching and swimming with manatees is the fastest growing contribution to the local economy. 
Parent brings catfish to chick with other parent watching.
OSPREY

The osprey or more specifically the western osprey (Pandion haliaetus) — also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk — is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.

The Osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.

As its other common names suggest, the osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey. As a result of these unique characteristics, it has been given its own taxonomic genus, Pandion and family, Pandionidae. Three subspecies are usually recognized; one of the former subspecies, cristatus, has recently been given full species status and is referred to as the eastern osprey. Despite its propensity to nest near water, the osprey is not classed as a sea eagle


Dad shows off his landing with fish in talons

The osprey is unusual in that it is a single living species that occurs nearly worldwide. Even the few subspecies are not unequivocally separable. There are four generally recognised subspecies, although differences are small, and ITIS lists only the first two.

  • P. h. haliaetus – (Linnaeus1758)Palearctic.
  • P. h. carolinensis – (Gmelin, 1788)North America. This form is larger, darker bodied and has a paler breast than nominate haliaetus.
  • P. h. ridgwayi – Maynard, 1887Caribbean islands. This form has a very pale head and breast compared with nominate haliaetus, with only a weak eye mask. It is non-migratory. Its scientific name commemorates American ornithologist Robert Ridgway.
  • P. (h.) cristatus – (Vieillot, 1816): coastline and some large rivers of Australia and Tasmania. The smallest and most distinctive subspecies, also non-migratory  Some authorities have given it full species status as the eastern osprey.
Mother feeding 3 day old chicks
Mother feeding two week old chicks
Nest Building
Mother preparing to feed chicks
Nest Building
Looking back at me!
This photography was done over a 6 week period of time from the hatching of the chicks to the first liftoff from the nest of the surviving chick.
Jacks work has been featured on: