First Flight: Probably Long and Photo Heavy PART 1


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Oct 4, 2011
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The Beautiful Hills of East Tennessee
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Well, I should say up front--this should really read ALMOST First Flight. Unfortunately, I missed the first actual flight from the nest with both birds by a VERY short period of time. A day, at the most, with the first one, and probably less than an hour or two with the second. I'd actually planned to stay all day until the second took flight, but then my son called me to say he was going to be in town for about two hours. Seeing my son for two hours trumps even the first flight of a juvenile Osprey. :D

This is a nest that I've been watching, as much as possible, since late March. However, it's a nearly two-hour drive from me--worth it because of how close the nest is to the road, but it also made it so I couldn't be there as much as I'd like.

June 13 was when I first saw that the babies had been born. They were so tiny at that time, I couldn't get a picture because their heads rarely poked up far enough to see them. I calculated how long it would take for them to get old enough to fledge, and began trying to make more frequent visits. Sadly, life was also crazy busy during the past month so it was hard to find time to go, and when I DID go get some pictures, I never had time to post them.

Here's one from July 2, showing the babies growing up quite a bit from just about two weeks before that:

And another from the same day, as the first baby begins testing its wings:

A couple of weeks later, and the babies have grown some more. Again, Baby #1 is testing its wings. It was already obvious at this point that this one was going to fly first. The other baby was still showing no interest in even flapping its wings.

Flash forward to this past Thursday. Juvenile #1 was working hard at fledging, but a storm came rolling in, and I had to head back to town. I just knew it was going to end up flying that day or the next, but there was no way I could get the time off work the next day.

So, Saturday, bright and early, I headed down, thinking they might have both fledged by then, but intending to spend the day watching them if they hadn't already fledged. But, as I said, the unexpected visit from my eldest son ending up thwarting that plan. Still, I got to spend hours watching them and saw what just about had to be the last "test flight" Juvenile #2 made before fledging.

This was the first outing where I had enormous trouble deciding which pictures to process, and which of those to post. I didn't even process some really good photos because they weren't quite the best. And then, of the ones I did process, I had to further cull down which ones to upload to Flickr. And now, even harder, which to post here. I'm going to post WAY more than I usually would in a thread, so I can kind of tell the story as I go.

1. As I drove up on Saturday, it was immediately obvious that Juvenile #1 had indeed, fledged.

2. Juvenile #2 had been left alone in the nest. Mama, Daddy and Juvenile #1 were all flying around, or sitting in a nearby tree, hollering for him to join them. He finally decided to test things out.

3. After a few attempts, he stopped and started sqauwking for someone to bring him some food:

4. Someone, they didn't. This adult flew right over the nest with this fish, landed over in a nearby tree, as if to say "You want fish? Come get it!"

5. At this point, Juvenile #2 begin really trying in earnest to beat those wings and take off, but he soon gave up, frustrated:

What happens? Will the little one take flight? Will he finally get fed? These questions and more will be answered in our NEXT episode of How The Ospreys Fly....

(Okay, seriously, I didn't intend to make this two parts...but I just realized that if I try to finish this post right now, I'm gonna miss my bus ride home!! So, I'll post Part 2 when I get home...)
That Sigma of your sure is sharp. Nice shots.
Wow, thanks everyone! Funny; this was posted over a month ago, and only the Part 2 thread got any response--not sure how it got "revived," but I'm glad it did. I had just as much fun as anyone looking at these again!

#5 is truly excellent

Wow, thanks. Coming from you, that means quite a lot to me.

You're leaving us a 'cliff-hanger'? Feel like I am watching 'Breaking Bad' or such!!
love #2, and yes that lens agrees with you!

Haha, well yes--but since this was posted over a month ago, the sequel is already out! You can find out what happened to our friendly feathered teens in First Flight, Part 2.
Great series and great story Sharon!
Love the sequence. Always nice to have a play-by-play. :mrgreen:


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