It is a rare day at the lake when I don’t hear a pileated woodpecker and its partner.
What is also rare is to actually see one of these large and secretive birds.
Then today, after seeing not one, but two, I found out that I have been repeating a myth about these birds:
I had thought the cartoon character Woody the Woodpecker was modeled on a pileated woodpecker.
Alas, I was wrong.  The real bird was an acorn woodpecker.  

pileated woodpecker

This time it was an adult eagle that pursued the immature osprey.
The osprey made several swoops, dives and tight turns, but ended up dropping the fish.
It flashed past the eagle who chased it all the way to the lake’s surface.
The eagle never caught up to the fish.
Neither bird got to have a meal.
The catfish can be seen just below the bow of the eagle’s right wing.

eagle distant

From down the hill, through the trees, I heard an osprey scream and then it flashed past the branches.
There was an immature bald eagle in aggressive pursuit of the fledgling osprey.
Frantically I followed the action, trying to get down the boat ramp.
I watched the eagle smack into the osprey, I missed that shot…
but the eagle didn’t miss the fish the osprey had just dropped.
The osprey’s empty talons says it all as the triumphant eagle bows away with its prize.
Wish the photo was clearer, but, alas…
eagle and osprey

Ever have a day when everything just tilts the wrong way?
This immature osprey had been chased by an eagle that wanted its fish.
The osprey dropped the fish in mid air but the eagle couldn’t retrieve it.
The osprey fledgling went out and caught another fish.
Its sibling chased it, trying to snatch the catch and again the fish was lost in the air.
The despondent osprey fledgling flew in and landed in the tree almost directly above me.
As he looked down at me he seemed to be saying “did you ever have a day…”

immature osprey

Mirrored against the still waters of the marsh stalked a subtly yet startling marked tricolored heron.
I had seen a few of these medium sized herons on other trips to Mattamuskeet Refuge
but they had all taken flight before I could take their measure with my camera.
This juvenile bird seemed oblivious to his surroundings and was very heron-like, fixed on the hunt.

tricolored heron