Osprey/Eagle Chase: There’s a First Time for Everything! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Osprey/Eagle Chase: There's a First Time for Everything!

Your Call?

If anyone gives a rat’s ass, please leave a comment and let us know which you feel is the stronger image and why you made your choice. I have a clear winner that I will share with you here should anyone comment.

Recent Interesting Comments

From yesterday’s V-LOG: Picking My Keepers from a 5851 a9 iii Image Folder blog post here:

Adam. April 8, 2024 at 9:20pm

Fantastic video for a variety of reasons. It demonstrated your assertion of faster is better. Suddenly, 120 FPS is a must have, making 20-30 fps positively archaic. Importantly, it also illustrated an efficient and productive first pass culling process, yielding plenty of images worthy of further study. Ironically, the aspect that I found most interesting was your blooper admissions; crowding the frame, cutting off the virtual feet, and the oof sequences. Not only were they humanizing, they will inevitably inspire the legions of photographers with infinitely less experience who are always striving to improve. Kudos!

Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. April 9, 2024 at 3:45am

Thanks, Adam. I am glad that you found the video helpful and educational. Note that my framing errors was more factual than admission 🙂

with love, artie

PS: It does solidify one of my main premises: stronger, experienced, (usually younger) bird photographers with fast reflexes and superior fine motor skills will get consistently better results than older, weaker, slower folks like me. They are in better position to utilize the amazing new technologies than us grandpas and grandmas.

John Storjohann. April 4, 2024 at 12:24pm

Artie, I really like the stronger catchlight on the image — job well done! And thank your for revisiting the topic of comments/suggestions/etc. on the series of images. I’ve been in the classroom as a teacher for 45 years…the best learning takes place when all parties are actively engaged in the conversation. This is a perfect example of that, and I appreciate it.

Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. April 9, 2024 at 4:48am

Thanks on all counts, John. Especially for your comments on teaching and learning. One thing is for sure, I am a much better teacher than I am a bird photographer. What continues to mystify me, as we have discussed via e-mail, is how few folks have signed up for IPTs over the last five years of so.

much love, artie

ps: I am baffled as well by the low number of comments and questions at most blog posts. It’s almost as if folks are too lazy to want to learn. Or possibly, many do not see any differences when comparing my images with their images … And, as I say here often, the more you comment and ask questions, the more you will learn. And that always includes me.

What’s Up?

Enjoy today’s post detailing the Eagle/Osprey midair chase and how I shot flight at 1200mm off the BLUBB- for the first time ever.

Today is Tuesday 9 April 2024. It is 3:57am as I type. Jim kindly woke at 3:00am to drive me to MCO for my 7:00am flight to Bismarck, ND to meet Kevin Hice and long time friend and student Anita North. We all have a date with Prairie Chickens and Sharp-tailed Grouse. My goal is to publish this before we get there 🙂

Don’t look now but this blog post makes ten days in a row with a new educational post just for you.

If you plan on purchasing a Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera (or anything else for that matter), please remember to use or write for either my Bedfords discount code or my B&H affiliate link. Folks who use one of my two affiliate links to purchase the a9 III will receive my .DAT settings (the complete camera set-up) along with a Buttons and Dials Guide.

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If an item — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords, is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great, and greatly appreciated, if you would opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to earn 3% cash back at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

Join me in Little Rock, Arkansas this May for a great weekend of learning and fun. You can check out any and all of the latest/greatest photo gear. If you know any good nearby spots for bird photography, and/or if you would like a free (5-image) portfolio review, shoot me an e-mail.

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A Bedford Event: Inspire, Learn, Discover
May 17-18, 2024
State House Convention Center
101 E. Markham St., Little Rock, Arkansas

​Don’t miss the Photo Expo in Little Rock! Regardless of your experience level, join hundreds of photographers, as we take over Little Rock on May 17-18, 2024. The Little Rock Photo Expo offers a remarkable experience packed with presentations, hands-on demonstrations, and a massive trade show featuring all the major photographic companies. Explore the latest gear, trade in your old camera equipment, and gain valuable insights from our experts. Get up close and personal with world-renowned keynote speakers and seize countless unique photo opportunities. Bring your camera and get ready for a weekend of fun, learning, and inspiration to elevate YOUR photography to new heights.

Click here to learn more and follow the links to see the schedule of events and/or register. Use this discount code at checkout to save $20.00: VIPEXPO24.

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Save 15%!

If you’d like to try out a new lens or if you need a lens for a specific trip or project (or for an IPT), LensRentals.com is the only way to go. To save 15%, simply click on the logo link above, arrange for your rental, and type in BIRDSASART15. If you type the gear you are looking for in the search box, it will pop right up. LensRentals.com offers affordable insurance. You can decline it, opt for LensCap: Damage Only, or select LensCap: Damage & Theft. Then hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT. After you enter all of your info but before completing your order, be sure to scroll down to Promo Code box and enter the BIRDSASART15 code to save 15%.

I checked on renting a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens for a week. The cost is only $122.00. LensCap: Damage Only coverage can be added for a very low $18.00. Going with LensCap: Damage & Theft would be $27.00. The shipping charge varies. They offer an interesting program called Lensrentals HD. By signing up for this shipping discount program ($99.00/year), you’ll get free Standard Shipping on all the orders you place.

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Remember, to save the 15% on your rental you must start your search by clicking on the logo above, or on this link: LensRentals.com


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Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are — out of ignorance — using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads. And the same is true in spades when ordering new camera bodies or lenses. My advice will often stave you some serious money and may help you avoid making a seriously bad choice. Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. If you are desperate, you can try me on my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up.

For those who did not use my link to purchase their Sony 300mm f/2.8 GM lens, you can order your a copy here for $209.93.

Click on the image to enlarge and to be able to read the fine print.

The BAA Sony 300mm f/2.8 Lens Guide

Impressed by my Sony FE 300mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens (Sony E) images from the last three posts? Use either my Bedfords or B&H affiliate link to purchase your Sony 300mm f/2.8 GM lens and shoot me your receipt via e-mail and request a copy of the first-ever BAA Lens Guide. I thought that it would take only minutes to create this guide, but I was dead wrong. In the process of creating it, I learned a ton about the lens. And even better, I discovered a simple yet potentially fatal flaw that was resulting in sporadically unsharp flight images. The set-up fix is simple. Just be sure to use one of my affiliate links and get the guide for free.

If not, you can purchase a copy here for $209.93. Yes, it never hurts to use my links and it never costs you one penny more. And if you contact me via e-mail before you make a major purchase, I can often save you some money.

This image was created on 8 April 2024 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Working from the driver’s seat of my SUV, I used the BLUBB-supported Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the ridiculously amazing Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the thumb dial. ISO 800. 1/2500 sec. at f/8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be about 1/2 stop of perfect. AWB at 8:12:33am on sunny morning.

Zone/AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed perfectly even at 1200mm. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Bald Eagle chasing Osprey with fish

There’s a First Time for Everything!

Several weeks ago an ILE neighbor lady named Lisa pointed out a Great Blue Heron nest to me in the tall pines on the east side of Banyan Drive. I had suspected them of breeding down by the lake but had never found a nest. Anyhoo, one of the very handsome adults gave me some decent chances yesterday morning. I was working on the BLUBB- at 1200mm from the car with the a9 iii when the GBH took flight, flew across the canal, and landed atop another pine tree.

Then out of nowhere, an adult Bald Eagle appeared on the tail of an Osprey with a fish. I knew that the exposure for the adult eagle was at least 1/3-stop under but did not want to risk blowing out the bird’s white head so I raised the shutter speed for flight and doubled the ISO. Still working on the BLUBB from the front seat, I attempted to frame the two birds and fire off a few frames. I had never shot flight off the BLUBB- at 1200mm before. It helped that the birds were a good distance away.

Seeing this image, you would be 100% sure that the eagle got the fish in the next second. But the next frame shows that the Osprey still had it breakfast catch. The eagle chased the Osprey north towards the pier so, by necessity, I got out of the car and made a few more images before they both disappeared.

This image was also created on 8 April 2024 nearly a minute after Image #1 was created. Now standing outside of my SUV, I used the handheld Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and the ridiculously amazing Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera. The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the thumb dial. ISO 800. 1/2500 sec. at f/8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be about 1/2 stop of perfect. AWB at 8:13:26‚am on sunny morning.

Wide/AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed perfectly even at 1200mm. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Osprey chasing Bald Eagle after the midair theft

Roles Reversed

I was so excited as I relied the images that I could barely control jumping out of my desk chair. When I got to Image #1, I was sure that I had gotten the shot of the fish being stolen, but alas, I did not. As the birds turned and flew back at me I saw that the eagle had the fish and that the Osprey was in hot pursuit of the larger bird. No luck there for the fish hawk.


With all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

16 comments to Osprey/Eagle Chase: There’s a First Time for Everything!

  • Artie
    We shoot rats in the ass here in Wisconsin but we Eat Opossum and Grits. 🙂
    #1 tells a story and not much one can do when there above you as you did amazing on the blubb at 1200mm that is super cool and the wings both spread far and wide are nice.
    I do however love #2 as much or more and i choose #2 with the osprey in back giving chase.

    Always with love b

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


      Yes, 1200 off the BLUBB IS AMAZING! That’s why I mentioned it.

      And you and I are the only ones who care a whit about #2. Great minds fall off cliffs@!

      love you man, a

  • Jordan Cait

    Hi Artie,
    I give a rat’s ass.
    The first image is superior as both birds are in focus and there is a sense of foreboding for the Osprey who is likely about to lose its dinner. I would be tempted to crop the Osprey out of the second image.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Jordan,

      How are you doing with your new 600 f/4???

      I disagree on #2. But nl;y 100%. Folks need to remember that when both images are presented in time order they are part of a story


  • Steve

    >> Suddenly, 120 FPS is a must have, making 20-30 fps positively archaic. <<

    Just wait until 1,000 FPS is available. Then, no one will want an α9-iii.

  • Andrew

    For me, no. 1, no question. Perfectly captures the action — but, in particular, it seems amazing to me that both birds have wings outstretched. World-class shot (naturally!).

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thank you kindly. When I switched to Sony, I suddenly became a better flight photographer :-00\
      With love, artie

  • Dagny

    If there are cormorants in your area, they will mob one of their own who catches a fish and fight over it. Reminds me of a tax collector 🙂

  • Image #1 tells the story and for me is far stronger. Don’t think I’ve seen a better image of eagle piracy of an Osprey, so your excitement is understandable. In Image #2, without explanation, I wouldn’t know the relationship of second bird or even that it was an Osprey.

    The only time I’ve seen an eagle sitting in our yard, there was an Osprey protesting overhead. A day later, when I found a fish between a shrub and our pool cage, I realized what had happened.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for your high praise — right place, right time, and enough skill to take advantage of my good luck.

      with love, artie

  • Richard Curtin

    Wow! I would pick #1 because of the sharpness of both birds. Would hold up well in court if the Eagle was accused of theft…

  • David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Image 1 is far more compelling to me. It has tension–the osprey still has the fish but you know it’s not likely to keep it–and the wing positions of both birds are perfect. Interesting to see how close in size they are. Eagles are definitely bigger but not that much bigger. Image 2 is an eagle with a fish and an oof bird in the distance. It’s not even easy to see which way the oof bird is flying.

    How did the eagle get the fish? Did it take it from the osprey or did the osprey drop it?

    By the way, I haven’t commented on your video from yesterday because I’m in a place where my internet doesn’t support video.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey David,

      Thanks for commenting as always. As it says above, I did not see the act of thievery as I was getting out of the car because the two birds were flying aways to the north.

      with love, artie

      ps: be sure to watch the video when you get a good connection.

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