Return of the Fish Hawk

It’s that time of year again! One of my favourite things about spring is watching ospreys plummet into the water and emerge carrying huge flatfish, with the suave flourish of a magician extracting a rabbit.

I’ll be honest – I rarely get excited about larger raptors as they’re usually just a hazy speck in the sky. But ospreys bring all the drama, sometimes appearing out of nowhere and sending nearby herring gulls into a flap.

An osprey will hover high over the water, using its incredible eyesight to track a fish. Then it sidles down through the air, finally slamming into the shallows talons first.

It’s often a game of luck if you’re standing in the right place when they dive (and if you’re nimble enough to catch the actual dive, which I regrettably wasn’t), but you’ll hear the splash even from several hundred yards away.

Elsewhere on the water, I was watching a heron minding its own business when it was mobbed by a couple of common gulls. Despite the size difference, the heron was shooed off its patch and raced past me with a reptilian squawk and a sweep of its vast grey wings.

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