Falcon!  The Merlin.
 
This small raptor is slightly bigger than our American kestrel.
I am used to seeing a few merlins each winter at Jordan Lake.
But, oh my, this morning at the dam, a merlin came in and made my day shine!!!
Note that in the last picture he was quickly leaving me and my camera behind.
Like all falcons the merlin is a speedy raptor!!
 
 
 

Jordan Lake is always full of surprises and contrasts.
It is home to both the largest and smallest raptors in the US.
Both of the birds below were very proud of their catches this afternoon.
 
American Bald Eagle
 
length: 34-43 inches   weight: 168 oz   wingspan 72-96 inches
 
_ark4457 jl dam 24-01-19 18-12-08 2 eagle fish frame
American Kestrel (also the smallest falcon in the US)
 
length: 9-12 inches    weight: 3.9 oz   wingspan 20-24 inches
 
_ark4124 ranger cove 24-01-19 14-03-31 1 kestrel lizard_ark4127 ranger cove 24-01-19 14-03-46 1 kestrel lizard

Jordan Lake Dam Birds

I was sitting on top of the dam this morning thinking that I needed to post some birds for all of you.
I was bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have any decent bald eagles to show you …
and then these two bald eagles flew past.
The top bird is a 4 year old and the lower bird is a 5 year old.
They got to about midway between the Haw River and the New Hope River and they each went a different way.

This bright-eyed falcon is a merlin.
I was surprised to see one this early in the migratory season – I usually see a few about the first of November.

There were so many killdeer swooping and calling at the dam that I thought I was at the beach this morning.

Yep, those are acorns – a total of 4 of them (hard to see the 4th one) – all stuffed in the beak of a fish crow!

The peregrine found me and my friend today and gave us a very, very quick look at him as he flashed past.
His patterns were stark against the very grey sky.