Birds of Prey
On Friday, we went to our new trout customer's farm, only 20 minutes away. We went with Martin because he had been there before and knew the way. When we arrived, we were treated to a tour of the trout operation. He buys trout from other suppliers like us and holds the fish in his ponds while he fillets and packages his stock to sell to restaurants. My camera's battery died, so I couldn't take any pictures, but his set-up is really nice. He was telling us how the river that feeds his ponds never gets dirty (what a bonus!!) and the level of water doesn't change regardless of whether it's dry season or wet season (another bonus). He has a few concrete ponds and a few natural ponds like ours. He also has a building where the clean, gut and fillet the fish... all very professional. He's been in business for seven years and seems to be doing well. It was nice to visit his farm, and he seemed happy to share with us.
Yesterday, we woke up to two ospreys and three Great Blue herons hunting our trout. The Ospreys are like snipers; they perch up high and wait. Very patiently. Then in a gracious swoop, they glide down, skimming the surface of the pond water and snatch one trout in their talons. So skilled. They fly away with their catch and feast elsewhere... who knows where they go? And those Great Blues, well, they're more ground stalkers. They land near the bank of a pond and quietly inch their way to the edge where they use their long beak as a spear. They don't always catch the fish, but they often maim them with their sharp poke.
The Great Blue Heron has supersonic eyesight. It can see fish, flying from up above, looking down into dark ponds... even at night!! Incredible. So trying to sneak up on them to take a picture -- at a decent distance -- is impossible. Without a telephoto lens, forget capturing anything close up. So, yesterday, I camped out in the old cabin at the bottom of the property, next to the last trout pond. I sat around, waiting for nearly an hour, hoping one of the herons would land where we had spotted him twice earlier in the morning. Even though I was hiding inside the wood shelter, maybe my bright blue fleece gave me away? I didn't really think that one through. So, these pictures will have to do... taken earlier in the morning.
This is the same picture, zoomed in, hence why it's so blurry.
As I was sitting and waiting, I was expecting a heron... to land and slowly approach the water. I figured I'd have time to focus my camera and snap a picture without having to hurry. There's a window that looks onto the pond: it was the perfect spot. What I didn't expect was an osprey diving into the pond and snatching a fish... in what seemed like a nano second. It all happened so fast. I was flustered... I was scrambling to turn my camera on and focus... by this time he was out of the water and flying away with his catch... flying to the left of me. I ran to the door on the opposite site of where I was standing and saw him fly right in front of me. My camera wasn't set to the right setting and everything came out blurry, but if you look closely in the red oval, hopefully you'll be able to see it.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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