How was your Monday? Well, mine was spent hanging out with Ben Wurst and Dustin Kopala tagging Osprey down in Absecon, NJ. Ben, a friend of mine who is not only a talented photographer himself, but the Habitat Program Manager at Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, asked me to come along to photograph the trip. Having grown up always seeing the Osprey nests on the water, it was a pretty awesome experience seeing the baby birds up close. Ben has a pretty unique job and spending the day with him really showed me how much he loves what he does, and loves the wildlife he cares for. Ben not only keeps track of every Osprey nest in NJ, but he builds them, cares for them, and does any repairs that need to be done.
We went around and checked about 20 nest platforms and where there were baby Osprey, Ben banded them. As we pulled the boat up to each nest, the male and female adult Osprey would leave the nest and the babies would lay down flat to hide from us. Ben is a professional, so although the birds looked scared in some of the photos, they weren't by any means in any kind of danger by us being there. Ben surveys each and every platform throughout the summer season and keeps stats on their activity as well as their condition. He then spends time in the late Summer and Fall season making any needed repairs. The banding of the birds is a good way to track them and keep valuable data on their travels, usually going as far South as South America in the Winter months.
Along with these digital shots, I shot a lot of film that I'll post up later. If you want to support Ben, since he is responsible for finding his own funding for projects like these, you can come out on August 14th til the 21st to the Ann Coen Gallery at 1418 Long Beach Blvd, Surf City, NJ 08008.