A battle of wills

Since I can be competitive, I am choosing to believe that being out waited is quite different than being out smarted. It all stemmed from an encounter with an osprey which is supposed to have far less than IQ than I. The scene was a glorious place I had visited before.

Years ago, we had spent a month at a mountain cabin and discovered the osprey nest nearby. Every morning I was faced with a delicious problem. Should I walk to some beautiful falls or head the other direction to check on the “the kids” – my nickname for the young osprey in the nest.

IMG_1053, Osprey, young, nest, two, Banff

During that visit, I had the good fortune of taking one of my favourite photos of an osprey in flight from above.

IMG_1150, Osprey, Banff, flight, flying, mountain,

I can’t imagine what it would be like to fly so effortlessly.

I generally like to keep my expectations in check but I still secretly hoped I would get an even better osprey photo when I returned to the same place. It is such a thrill to photograph this amazing predator.

Within seconds of arriving at the location, I found the osprey preening on a nearby tree. I was excited and hoped it wouldn’t fly away too quickly. It didn’t. I took a few photos and it preened some more. Then it just stood there. I’m no expert on osprey thot processes but it seemed to me like it was just standing there without a thot or a worry – totally relaxed … maybe too relaxed.

_T6C5975, Osprey, Banff, preening, tree

This might be preening or just avoiding eye contact.

I waited a long time and then waited some more. Finally I had to admit that the osprey had more patience than I that day. I’m not bitter even though I hate to lose.

I’m guessing it’s still there on the branch today, occasionally preening and not thinking of much unless it remembers how it out waited the impatient photographer. Hopefully that doesn’t prompt a smirk.

Latest Comments

  1. Judy says:

    I tend to be impatient and I’d rather walk than drive round and round a parking lot to find the closest spot!! Not often I do a long stint waiting for birds to do what I conceive I want as usually that ends up disturbing my harmony more than theirs. Most of my favouite things I call serendipity.


    • lylekrahn says:

      I am impatient by nature so I understand the things you are talking about. I’m slowly learning to wait to create more serendipity – sometimes it feels more natural than others.


  2. mimar9 says:

    Talent beyond compare. Just thought I’d share.


  3. melodylowes says:

    Perhaps an osprey smirking is worth the price of patience? 😀 Great shots, Lyle!


  4. FeyGirl says:

    Such stunning shots, of one of my favorite raptors! Absolutely beautiful….


  5. artsifrtsy says:

    Yesterday I sat below some bald eagles sitting up high in perfect position to catch them as they soared – after a couple hours I just had to give up and shoot something else while I still had light. Maybe next week. The preening shot is pretty awesome.


  6. Scott Marshall says:

    different from Phil’s shots – more about understanding the birds in their habitat’s and placing them in their landscape


    • lylekrahn says:

      Interesting observation. I have made a conscious effort to mix it up a bit and include the habitat in wildlife shots. And sometimes my lens just isn’t long enough and I get there by accident.


  7. Gunta says:

    Know that feeling only too well. It happens with waves, too. Don’t know what their IQ might be.


  8. Phil Lanoue says:

    Terrific photos of the always amazing osprey!
    Sadly, I can relate to be outlasted. Some time ago I set up on a bald eagle in a tree waiting and wanting to get flight shots when it left. I finally gave up becuase it looked like it never planned to leave that tree. But leave it did, *as I was driving away* it practically dive bombed my car, purposely I’m convinced. Rotten eagle. 😦


    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks Phil. Great story on buzzing your car (OK not so great for you). I think I need to somehow improve my mind reading because I’m just not picking up the right signals from body movements.


  9. doraiswaamy ganesh says:

    Dear Friend, You have not added the kids,to the galaxy.I would love to see them.Beautiful shots. Keep them coming.Regards, Ganesh.


  10. cowen1970 says:

    They do these things on purpose I swear!!


  11. Mike Powell says:

    I love your shots of the osprey offspring (try saying that fast three times in a row) and your cautionary words on the challenge of waiting, patiently or impatiently, for something to happen. It’s really type to remain in a position of complete readiness, hyper-focused on the subject, trying to divine the signs of imminent movement and the likely direction of the movement. I imagine that it is a bit like being a goalie for a penalty kick, watching the opposing player as he lines up for the shot. Unfortunately for us, if we are the goalie in this scenario, the success rate is relatively low in achieving the goal of stopping a goal from being scored. Oh, and there is one other complicating factor. There is a time limit for the player to take the shot–our subjects can wait until we lower our guard or run out of patience.


    • lylekrahn says:

      I can’t even say it fast once in a row! Only an impatient person by nature could have all the struggles I do! Your analogy is right on the mark. The complicating factor is definitely the timing. I don’t know how many times I have stayed at high alert, relaxed and then the action happened. It is simply not possible to maintain high alert for extended periods which means Murphy’s law is lurking around the corner. I guess that’s what makes it so special when it happens.


  12. Linda says:

    Stunning shots, as usual, Lyle.


  13. hannele says:

    wonderful shots, indeed! they’re majestic creatures… i’m guessing this is close to a lake or something? i’ve only seen them very close to water, but i guess they can nest pretty far inland, too.


  14. Seenorway says:

    Preening, absolutely! No bird wants to look like he hasn’t done his morning toilet! Appearance means a lot 🙂
    Fabulous pictures, Lyle!


  15. justmusing says:

    Thank you for this story, unfolded so nicely ; ) Good luck!


  16. vanbraman says:

    Next time he won’t hold still for you :-). And you will be wishing he was posing for you like the last time.


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