Project Osprey has followed the progress of two Osprey hatchlings this Spring. The older began flapping its wings about three weeks ago — the younger, about a week later.
They have very different personalities. The older is very quiet, and likes to perch on the nest doing a sort of hip hop neck slide. The younger spends most of the time nestled down calling out for food.
Both are nearing their maiden flight which typically occurs within 7-8 weeks of hatching.
Osprey are a type of hawk. With a 70-inch wingspan they are smaller than a bald eagle (80-inch). Look for their stick nests near any body of water as they typically feed on fish. Osprey will nest atop trees, cranes, buoy markers and poles.
There is an abandoned nest across the creek that I believe has been used by this pair in year’s past, but it is not as big or defensible as the one you see here.
Project Osprey has been a very difficult task due to the fact that I don’t have the proper gear to capture awesome photos and video. Not even 5% of the images were usable, and the many hours of video were condensed into the 10-minute film posted below.
A bridge camera — in this case, the Panasonic DMC-FZ200 — will certainly give you the distance, but not the quality. My APS-C crop camera — Canon Rebel T7i — captures great images, but my longest lens is only 250mm.
A premium lens costs thousands of dollars, and because this isn’t my style of photography, I couldn’t justify the expense. Now, if I worked for National Geographic then, yeah, I’d gladly pay the price.
However, out of impulse, I ordered — then canceled — the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens (US$900 at Amazon). The effective crop factor (240-960mm) would certainly get the job done, right?
The Sony RX10 IV is touted by many to be the very best bridge camera, but at US$1600 it would be a more expensive option than purchasing an interchangeable lens for the Canon.
On the other hand, the Sony captures images that are of DSLR quality without having to tote a bag full of lenses and camera body. Built with a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T 24-600mm f/2.4-4 ultra-zoom Lens, and 25x optical zoom, the RX10 could very well replace all of my gear.
Should you buy the RX10 IV? Maybe not right now as Sony plans to announce later this year the release date of the RX10 V. Wait and see what the improvements are, or score the IV at a discounted price.
Does a bridge camera at 600mm produce as clear an image as a DSLR at the same length? Well, if it’s a $10,000 prime lens then, obviously, no. If you have to crop the image there will be distracting noise and artifacts, but for this project the FZ200 was decent enough … and I only paid US$250 though, in 2016, I should have bought the Sony RX III.
Project grade: C+
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