Slideshow: Ospreys in flight

Amateur photographer Fergus Henderson of Edgartown spent many hours on many days capturing Martha's Vineyard’s fish hawks.


These days Island visitors and residents can see these splendid creatures almost everywhere while traveling around the Vineyard. That was not always the case.

More than three decades ago the birds had nearly disappeared from Martha’s Vineyard. A massive effort to revitalize the osprey population resulted in their numbers increasing from only two pair in 1970 to more than 75 pair today. Most reside on nesting platforms atop tall poles erected as part of the Felix Neck Osprey Project begun by Gus Ben David in 1971.

The osprey lines his big nest with seaweed and scavenged materials, and feeds exclusively on fish, diving feet first from high aloft to catch his meal.

Walk into the woods and along the beaches of the Vineyard and you are likely to see an osprey. Watch them soar and fish – it is always spectacular. Just remember, don’t disturb them in ways that will affect their ability to build their nests, hatch eggs, and fledge their young. Hopefully, the osprey will continue to be a dramatic element of the Vineyard ecosystem.

Fergus Henderson started using a camera in college (USAF Academy – Class of 1964) and has been creating images ever since. Of late, his primary focus has been spotlighting the sporting events of his grandchildren.  Ospreys have always been a fascination, and this winter a new camera and lens made it possible for him to record their activities without being too disruptive. His images can be viewed at

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