The day dawned sunny and warm. And not long after I had gotten out of bed, one though occupied my mind. It would be a good day to try out the crappie fishing at the lake. So as soon as my work for the duties for the day were ompleted, I packed up my gear and headed for the lake. The weather had been warm recently, so hopefully I would catch the crappie starting to bite. But little did I know that this trip would end as just as much of a birding trip as it was a fishing trip. Here is a narrative (with photos) of the day's happenings.
After I stopped at the bait shop and purchased a dozen crappie minnows, I headed to the crappie 'hole', and promptly missed the turn. I turned around and headed back towards the road that I needed, when a large raptor with long, pointed wings flew over the road. It lifted it's wings, and that is when I made the ID- the rumors had been true- it was an osprey. It is modest to say that I was excited. I was absolutely thriled! I had never heard of an osprey at this lake before, and I'm not ashamed to say that I was skeptical when I saw an osprey report come in on my eBird needs alert. But now my skepticism had vanished.
Rejoicing that I had missed my turn, I proceeded to my destination. After arriving, I set up my chair, popped (or rather stuck) a minnow onto my hook, tossed it into the water and settled back in my chair for a long wait. About fifteen minutes and twenty feet later, I gazed up at the sky. I literally jumped I was so startled to see none other than Mr. Osprey soaring towards me at a very low altitude. The other fisherman must have though I was crazy as I jumped up and charged towards my car. Fortunately I had decided to bring my camera. I returned in time to get a few unacceptable long-distant shots, but luck was with me (for once). The osprey headed back over and landed in a tree on the shore not too far away. As I hurried toward the bird, it flew over me once again, and I snapped some more shots, some fairly decent, considering the conditions (it was extremely windy at the moment, combined with the fact that when I'm excited I take awful photographs because I am not careful to do things proper).
My view from the dock; the osprey flew in from the left.
Satisfied that I had gotten some shots, I settled back down to fish. But after an hour of patient waiting, I had been rewarded with nothing more than a few mere nibbles at the bait. Obviously small (most likely sunfish) enough that they couldn't get their mouth over the entire hook. Packing up, I decided to try one more location before I headed home. But first, I needed a bottle of water; I had finished the one that I had taken with me. Stopping at a vending machine near the boat ramps, I was happy to see this duck, which I promptly photographed:
Unknown duck species
Unfortunately I haven't been able to identify the bird. The closest that I can come up with is either the greater or lesser scaup, but this bird is lacking the gray back of the scaups. As an unrelated side not, dredging was also going on near the duck site today:
Dredging the lake
At my last fishing location, I was happy to once again see... you guessed it- the osprey. This is where I got my best photo, though it isn't exactly spactacular. Ineed, I watched the osprey more than I fished at this location, and my fishing caused me to miss a prime photo opportunity of the osprey at low altitude while nearly directly above me. The lighting would have been perfect, also. But alas, I missed the opportunity, and instead of leaving with a perfect shot of a soaring osprey, I left with a decent shot of an osprey. But at least I saw it, which has to count for somthing.
The osprey riding the thermals over the lake
This inquisitive goose suspiciously watched me as I fished, and gave me plenty of space as it passed.
The sunset out my back door upon my return home.