Jordan Lake. Well, it is the last day of November and a windy soggy day at that. So, I thought I would try to brighten up our world a little bit. Here is a flight of bufflehead ducks that Captain Doug and I found, bright in the sunshine of yesterday afternoon, to lighten the mood of this mid-week day.

bufflehead ducks

Jordan Lake: The autumn air warmed enough this morning for me to share a moment with a delightful critter. Here in the southern US we call this lizard a chameleon because it changes colors depending on the surface it is upon. However, it is not a true chameleon (which lives in parts of Africa and other Old World sites) which can change more than between green and brown. Properly, our color changer is known as a green anole. I hope you enjoy its ramble.

green anole

Jordan Lake. It seems this immature great blue heron is trying to see if he has a belly button. Birds do have belly buttons, however, by time they’re hatched, the navel scar is so tiny you would have trouble finding it. Alas, I’m sure this youngster won’t be able to see his own navel.

immature great blue heron

Jordan Lake. A field ID mark on a fledgling osprey is all of the white points at the end of its feathers. They are quite distinct. I have also noticed some of this on fledgling bald eagles, and fledgling hawks. Not near as definitive but it is there. I keep asking the experts do they know why. So look at the neck and head ruff on the eagle and osprey and on the wings and see what you think.

bald eagle fledgling
osprey fledgling

OK! Dr. O’Shea at Ask a Naturalist at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences sent me this reply to my query if the flock of birds I had posted were Greater or Lesser Scaups: “Those are Lesser Scaup. Greaters do occur inland on the larger lakes, but it would be unusual to see so many away from the coast. Head shape can be a useful field mark, but not on flying birds. Fortunately these photos show the wing stripe very well. On a Greater Scaup, this stripe extends farther out into the primaries.”
Today’s photo is the same flock (I submitted 2 photos to Ask a Naturalist), and, it is easier to see the field mark in this photo that Dr. O’Shea says makes the identification of Lesser Scaups.
BTW: if you need help with an id of a bird, or animal or amphibian, plant, etc. here is the link to NC Museum of Natural Sciences Ask a Naturalist

lesser scaups