Quick Shot: Empty Handed

I was hoping to spend some time on a nice photo journey today, but the weather in DC wasn't the best, so I decided to stick to my favorite local spot (Mason Neck State Park). Being a weekday morning, I knew I would probably be the only person out there and would have prime bird watching.  

As I geared up, I heard the calls of an Osprey flying over the water, followed by the occasional splash as he dove into the water for fish. I historically haven't faired well when photographing these Osprey - the site doesn't allow me to get as close as I like to my subject.  

Not deterred by my past performances, I decided to spend a few minutes watching the fishing ritual. I watched as the Osprey would make a few laps up and down the coast. Right before diving into the water, the Osprey would pull up and pause over a spot in the water, before dive bombing like a jet into the water. He would disappear for just a second under the water and then emerge again.  

I photographed several rounds of this fishing behavior, hoping to get a shot of him holding his catch in his talons. Osprey are the only raptor that carries their prey parallel to their body (hawks and other raptors carry their prey perpendicular to their body), which makes for a nice photo if you can catch the bird with a fish in hand. Unfortunately, in the time I spent watching, the Osprey never managed to catch a meal and eventually left, empty handed. 

I snapped this shot after the Osprey surfaced empty handed. I liked this particular image because he stayed at water level a little longer, almost in an act of frustration. While the Osprey may have been empty handed today, I left with a treat!

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