Osprey Fishing

Last Sunday I happened on a group of Osprey working the eel grass beds between Nick’s and Hog island on Tomales bay. It was a strong minus tide, so the water was very shallow. The mid day light was less than ideal for photography, but you can get an idea of how they fish from these images. There were three or four birds coming and going, they averaged about one fish every four dives, and typically less than five minutes between attempts.

They seem to prefer the edges of the beds, where they transition into deeper water. The bottom is sand, and some of the areas they were in are less than a foot deep. As you can see one of them caught a fish that had to weigh at least half as much as he did. It’s amazing watching them lift out of the water with a fish that large.

They also ignored the eel grass that was wrapped over their wings, which surprised me.

Very impressive raptors!

He hovers 30 meters above Tomales bay searching for fish, ignoring the eel grass streamer wrapped around his wing.


Screaming towards the water like a dive bomber he rotates his feet into position as the target approaches.


He hits the water feet first and disappears completely.

Now the hard part, getting back in the air.


Heading home with lunch for the mate and kids.



About westcoastwilds

This site is meant to share the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and educate people about mankind's stewardship obligations now that we have complete control of the planet. To date we've made a mess of it, but there is still hope.
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