Osprey at Huntley Meadows on August 18, 2022. It had been a few weeks since I visited Huntley. Temperatures had cooled off last weekend and continued into this week, making for some comfortable days where I could easily spend a few hours on the boardwalk. Sunrise was at 6:22 AM Thursday and my intended arrival was around 6 AM. It was 5:45 when I parked and knew that I was going to be standing around on the boardwalk for at least a half hour. It was dark enough that my cellphone flashlight was of little use — I regretted not bringing an actual flashlight!

The shorebirds were already active in the mudflats at the far end of the boardwalk. I was photographing them despite the lack of light at low shutter speeds. An osprey was also circling above me, looking for breakfast. The sun was still below the horizon and shooting birds of prey hunting in no light is a futile task at such low speeds. It caught a fish a short time after nearby to where I was. It's a shame that I didn't even see it because I was too caught up in watching a Great Blue Heron with its first meal of the day!

The osprey flew back before 7 AM and perched in this tree for about 15 minutes. These dead trees are close to the boardwalk so you must be slow and quiet in your attempt to get closer to birds perching there. The sun was finally over the horizon and illuminating the trees behind the osprey. I shifted closer but returned to my original position as the osprey no longer had the trees in the background. Shooting 6.5 pounds of camera + lens handheld at lower shutter speeds can be disastrous for me but it worked out this time. Felt like fall in this photo! I also took video of it perched until it flew off to a dead tree on the other side of the pond, where it sat for about an hour before disappearing.

Lens - Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 @ 600mm on Nikon D500