Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River. Ospreys don’t often really get angry with each other and actually go after each other with talons and beaks at the ready. This morning 2 male ospreys got very angry. I don’t know what started the argument because there were no osprey nests nearby to cause a territory dispute (those kind of disputes are almost always a lot of screaming and mild threats). I wondered if the osprey being chased was an immature bird, from last year, and had some how gotten on the wrong side of the other bird. I couldn’t see enough the plumage or eye color to know that. I was just glad to see the threatened bird fly out of the mouth of the tailrace and safely away. PS: the smudges and soft focus are the result of my determined efforts to shoot through the trees on the riprap…life in the photographer’s lane…

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: I promptly told this very handsome male osprey that I most definitely would not challenge him for his fish! I am, however, asking for you to be on the lookout for him. Did you notice that his back and upper side of his flight feathers appear to be black and not a deep brown? I have seen this osprey twice and since the first time was right after sunrise, I assumed the “black” was due to shadows. But, yesterday, when I took this photo, it was 9:51AM and so less likely for shadows to be causing the interesting color of his back and upper wings. If you see him, could you let me know? Thanks!

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River. The osprey’s eyes glittered with the intensity of the raptor’s attention. Talons stretched, taut and sharp. I could see the fish in front of the vibrantly alive bird. The osprey struck successfully and took the fish home. I snapped the shot and brought the memory home to share with all of you.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River:

Set!

Strike! Note: she has quickly flicked her nictitating membrane over her eye as protection.

Hold on!

Head for Home!

Mom osprey on a successful fishing pass within the riprap.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: On a fishing dive, an osprey picks up a lot of water. Water is heavy at 8 pounds per gallon. The osprey is an efficient flyer so once it gains some height above the water, the bird does a shake to throw off the excess water and its weight. I love watching the shake start at the bird’s beak and finally flipping off at the end of its tail – just like a very wet dog. The bright morning light striking the scattering drops makes the osprey a sparkling sunburst.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: Mom Osprey got herself a fish this morning. She hit the water, grabbed the fish and was gone out over the dam almost before I knew she was there! The glittering sunshine sure made her a brilliant brooch against the river.