A great selection of client images from our Osprey Photography Holiday

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If you ever wondered how some of our photography holidays come about, many of them are worked on with our clients, between us ideas are born & from there progressed, or as Derek, who attended the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday, says …

“It was about two years ago that David & I started talking  about the possibilities of photographing Ospreys in Florida. We had both decided that most of the different possibilities of photographing Ospreys in the UK had pretty much been done to death & we wanted to try and get a different portfolio of Osprey images.

David did a lot of work in putting the trip together & also included a variety of birds other than the ospreys at ‘rookeries’ as it was the nesting season for most egret & heron type birds. David, using his contacts in Florida, also managed to locate a site to photograph the 3rd rarest bird in North America, the Snail Kite!

We all knew the trip would be good but it was not until we got there we realised how good … the photography opportunities were simply amazing & the lake setting quite magical just on it’s own.

Hopefully, the images that I captured below will go some way to demonstrating the superb photographic opportunity, I would fully recommend the trip to anyone who wants that different & special image.”

Here is a selection of the images that Derek captured whilst in Florida attending our Osprey Photography Holiday during late-April 2016 …

Wings fully spread, an osprey comes in to land at the nest - most nests are at eye level or just above - meaning photography is engaging - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

The main target species was obviously the osprey, the lake that we use for photography has somewhere in the region of 200 nesting pairs in the tree that line the waterline & actually grow out in the water of the lake. Photographing from a pontoon boat means that the nests are virtually at eye-level & easily approached.

The fate of the snail that has been plucked from the lake by one of the snail kites is to be extracted from it's shell & consumed - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

This is the snail kite, as Derek mentions above, the third rarest bird in North America, we were honoured to be able to spend several sessions with the birds, for context, the shell of the snail that the kite has caught is about the size of a ladies fist!

The famous cypress trees in which the ospreys make their nests - literally every other tree contained an osprey nest - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

These are the cypress trees that line the lakes in which the ospreys are to be found, with trunks rising out of the water & lichen growing downwards, the location has an ethereal feel to it. In the photo above, you can see two nests with female ospreys sat a top of them.

Sunrise over the lake, the ospreys were already awake & the males had departed for the first fishing trip of the day - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

Early starts, leaving the hotel whilst still dark, driving before the sun rose to the lake, it was necessary to be out on the lake before sunrise, manoeuvring the boat into position so that images like the above were possible to achieve!

In addition to ospreys, roseate spoonbills were easy to locate, such as this one with nesting material captured in the setting sun - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

Apart from the ospreys, we spent time photographing the birds of the various rookeries, the roseate spoonbills were a favourite with our clients; here one is seen bringing in some material for the nest.

An egret swoops in on a piece of nesting material floating on the surface of the lake near the Floridian rookeries - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

Along with the roseate spoonbills, the rookeries are home to many other birds, including cattle, snowy & little egrets, all of whom are nesting, some with new clutches of legs, some with freshly hatched young.

An egret retrieves a piece of nesting material floating on the surface of the lake near the Floridian rookeries - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

It was tough to catch the egrets as they swooped down to the water to gather twigs & sticks with which to reinforce their nests in the trees that lined the central islands of the rookery.

A snail kite lands with a freshly caught snail, these are very rare birds but a small colony exists on some Floridian lakes - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

A snail kite lands on a perch which one of the apple snails that make up the bulk of their diet, this had just been scooped from the lake.

One of the parent Ospreys guards the nest & the precious offspring within - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

A mother osprey guards the nest which contains her precious offspring, during the week, we saw osprey chicks progress from freshly hatched to fully formed & gaining in confidence.

One of the male ospreys with a freshly caught fish poses in one of the cypress trees - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

One of the male ospreys brings a fish in to a tree branch, here the observed behaviour was for them to kill their catch & remove it’s head – this was so that the chicks would not be confronted by a live & frantic fish.

An osprey returns to the nest having gathered fresh material to line the nest - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

A male osprey returns to it’s nest with lichen & branches with which to line the nest.

An osprey returns to the nest following a successful fishing sojourn - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

Following a successful fishing attempt, a male osprey returns to the nest, calling to it’s mate to announce the impending delivery of food!

An osprey comes in for a carefully judged landing on a branch adjacent to the nest - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

Landing with amazing precision & at full stretch, one of the male ospreys returns to the nest.

An egret returns to the rookery with material for nest building - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

One of the egrets that we encountered whilst in the rookery area – again on a pontoon boat – here bringing nesting material back to the rookery.

An egret feeds her young in the nest, the rookeries that we visited were lined with hundreds of nests - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

At the beginning of the week, this egret mother was sat on her legs, but by the end of the week, they had hatched & grown, now competing for food from their mother.

A snail kite image captured on one of the Floridian lakes, here seen clutching a freshly caught snail - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

Another successful snail hunting outing sees this snail kite flying to a perch, once at the perch, the snail will be removed, eaten & the now-empty shell discarded.

A roseate spoonbill mother tends to the nest & her chicks within - photographed on the NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday conducted in Florida during April 2016

One of the roseate spoonbill mothers tidies the nest in which she will bring up her new offspring for the first weeks of their life.

Do you want to join the 2019 Osprey Photography Holiday?

We have already announced the 2019 photography holiday, priced at £3249 to join the trip, this works out to approximately £400 per day, which includes all accommodation, ground transportation, burrowing owl photography sessions & twelve AM & PM boat trips to the lakes typically of 3-4 hours duration each. Guidance & tuition by tour leader David Miles & our local guide is also included, giving guests new to the area expert insight into the birds & their routines.

In addition to the ospreys, egrets & spoonbill sessions, for 2019, we are adding sessions with barred owls around the lake plus two sessions with burrowing owls in the Cape Coral area.

You can pay a deposit of £800 now to hold a place, with the balance due in early 2018.

The 2016 trip was described by one guest as ‘exceeding all my expectations of how many ospreys we would be able to photograph’, whilst another stated ‘this is osprey photography heaven’!