Yesterday I planned to drop Dave off at String Lake for his hike to the Forks of Cascade Canyon and then drive on looking for birds or bear jams to photograph. But then I remembered that Yellow-bellied Marmots like to sun themselves in the morning on the boulders along the western side of the Jenny Lake Loop Trail, and decided to see if I could find a few to photograph.
For most of the morning I amused myself taking pictures of various plants along the trail or views of Jenny Lake with wild flowers in the foreground. I actually made it to Hidden Falls (about 2.5 miles) when the crowds jammed to a standstill before they assaulted the vertical trail to Inspiration Point. Hidden Falls was spectacular, in full roar from the high temperatures melting the snow higher up.
Not prepared to venture up to Inspiration Point myself, I turned back, knowing high winds and possible rain with snow mixed in were in the forecast for the afternoon. I kept scanning the steep hillsides looking for moose where Dave had seen them a few days ago. No joy. Almost back to String Lake and ready for a trail snack, I did see a soaring bird high overhead and watched to see where it landed. Luckily, it picked a snag not far from the trail, and an easy backtrack. I started taking photos of it from a distance, still not sure what I was seeing — figuring that I could blow the picture up back up at camp to identify it if it took off before I got close.
Hmm, not an eagle. But it has a white head and brown tail. So it must be an Osprey. But it is a funny shape!
Closer still, I can see that it has brought lunch. The Osprey has a lake trout in one giant claw, and is balanced on one foot, on a dead tree branch, trying to eat while not getting blown off its perch.
I can’t believe that it lets me walk right under it — now that is a view you never expect to have! I found a log on the side of the trail to rest on while taking pictures. Lifting the camera high and at an extreme angle taught me just how heavy this set up can be!
And the wind!! It was hard to hold the camera still and get the focus to lock anywhere near the Osprey’s head because the wind was actually shoving me and the lens around. Still, I am very pleased with what I captured before the Osprey flew off taking the fish with it. See what you think over on SmugMug!