Ospreys of Flaming Gorge

Male Osprey in flightMale Osprey in flight – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 800, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Our trip to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in northeastern Utah was great despite my having been ill the last night we were there. We camped in two different locations this time and both had grand views of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Last year at about this same time these Osprey were busy building their nest while this year they were already sitting on eggs.  The male pictured above was flying past the nest with part of a fish in its talons. We sat for nearly an hour watching the male eat this fish on a distant power pole before he flew past. Have I ever mentioned that one needs tons of patience to be a bird photographer?

Female Osprey in golden lightFemale Osprey in golden light – Nikon D300, f5.6, 1/1000, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited

The light in the morning can be gorgeous at Flaming Gorge, it was when I photographed the female regaining her balance on top of a power pole near the nest. We didn’t see much of this golden light though this trip. The Uinta Mountains can create their own weather and they certainly did the days we were there with clouds building up in the afternoons, some rain and thunderstorms too.

Female Osprey in low lightFemale Osprey in low light – Nikon D300, f5.6, 1/160, ISO 1250, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The last morning the light was low with clouds that were blocking the sun and spitting some rain down on us. I bumped my ISO up to 1250 and hoped to get a few useable images of the Osprey before we left. Even at ISO 1250 I wasn’t getting the shutter speed I would have liked and all the flight images I took had plenty of motion blur, I think I was quite lucky to get the female’s face in focus as she came in for a landing in this frame.

The beauty of Flaming GorgeThe beauty of Flaming Gorge – Nikon D300, f8, 1/500, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 95mm, natural light

Who couldn’t love this view? I know each time I see it I am in awe of the beauty of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, and this view is just a tiny part of the stunning vistas seen in the area.

I’ll be posting more Osprey images from this journey later along with scenery from other parts of the Recreation Area and Ashley National Forest.


  1. Mia McPherson May 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Thank you everyone.

  2. Ingrid May 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Following the nesting progress of Ospreys in our neighborhood, I have such a soft spot for these birds. And tremendous love for great photos of them. 🙂

  3. Lynn Koch May 20, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Beautiful shots, Mia. Ospreys are such gorgeous birds and your captures are bang on!!! Flaming Gorge is spectacular! I hope you’re feeling much better.

  4. Julie Brown May 20, 2013 at 4:12 am

    Wonderful example of stratification and uplift in your landscape shot. As for you being lucky, I would suspect that your experience, preparation and skill probably has more to do with your keeper rate!

  5. Tammy Karr May 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Incredible shots, Mia! The Ospreys are gorgeous and the Flaming Gorge…WOW!

  6. M. Firpi May 19, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Amazing Osprey flying image. There are absolutely no Ospreys to the north of San Juan; but there might be some somewhere else in P.R..

  7. Humming Bird lover May 19, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Hi! Beautiful photo’s Have a great day!

  8. Sherry in MT May 18, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    You did an amazing job with the osprey and they sure do require patience! That looks like an amazing place.

  9. Susan May 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful view both of the gorge and the Ospreys, thanks so much for sharing:)

  10. Merrill Ann Gonzales May 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I just love the clear shots of the feathering so we can see things and understand. Many thanks.

  11. Merrill Ann Gonzales May 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Ospreys are such gorgeous birds… and so much fun to draw. I won’t be drawing for awhile since I’ve taken pretty nasty spill, but just seeing these photos of yours brings back the joy I have with studying these birds.
    I hope you are feeling better from what made you ill. Take care of yourself. You bring so much joy to so many.

  12. Bob Bushell May 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    You are so lucky, what a beauty.

  13. eric c11 May 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    waow !! excellent serie mia, thanks for sharing ☺

  14. Loekie May 18, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Beautiful pictures as usual. My question is how can you see the difference between a male and female? They look so much alike. Is it because the female incubate the eggs and the male is the food provider? Thanks again Mia.

  15. Azstu May 18, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Great Series and unique lighting blends too. Wonderful as always. Finally, I have to say this.. these photos were Flaming Gorgeous 😉 ……as I may never get another opportunity to use that.

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