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

I always have so much of Jordan Lake that I want to share!
My emphasis for my media time is usually on the bird life – in particular the raptors.
But by no means do I miss opportunities to photograph the other lives at Jordan Lake.
 
So, this is part 1 for the current catchup: critters without feathers.
 
Meet the official North Carolina Reptile: the Eastern Box Turtle
This beautiful box turtle strolled out from under my truck as I was packing up to leave one morning.
I picked him up and carried him, in the same direction he was headed, to an area in the woods off the edge of the parking lot.
 
 
The Imperial Moth was well-named: this one was wider than my hand. 
 They get to be about 4” across in their wingspan.
 
 
The Sleepy Orange butterfly.
If the photo was of this butterfly with his wings out flat, you would see the “orange” of its name.
 
 
The Swamp Cicada.
This noise maker is an annual cicada: they appear every year.  Some cicada species appear every 13 or 17 years.
I really like its brilliant green wing veins.
 
 
The Deep Yellow Euchlaena moth.
The angles in the wing structure and the curves in the color patterns make an interesting and pleasing contrast.
 
 
Skink tail bling!
Notice that I did not name the specie.
Without a clear photo of the side of the face of a skink, I have no way to know if this is a five-lined skink or an immature broad-headed skink.

First Nest’s neighborhood in the aftermath of all the rain
 
That is mom Kate on the lower branch and dad Petruchio on the upper one of a tall pine at the edge of their cove.
As the surrounding areas have drained, Jordan Lake is doing what it was created to do: control flooding.
In September 1945 the Homestead hurricane came up the coast from Florida and flooded eastern North Carolina.
Cities on the Cape Fear River were severely impacted by flooding. The state of NC set out to control any future flooding. 
The Haw River and the New Hope River were dammed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Lake filled by 1983.
During rain events, as the lake fills with waters from further inland and the rains above, the lake spreads out and floods it’s shoreline.
Better the shoreline gets flooded and not the downstream cities and towns.
Once enough drainage has occurred east and south of us, the Army Corps will open the gates of the dam and begin letting the extra water out.

Coffee is grumpy! Nothing about the lake looks right to her at all, but both she and HC are within sight of their parents.

The red arrow is pointing at where I was standing, against the trunk of the tree, yesterday afternoon about 3:30 PM.  
As you can see the lake has traveled well in land (probably 30+ feet) – I took this photo today at about 9:30 AM.
BTW the mirror reflection makes my eyes cross when I look at it!
This tiny least sandpiper has walked down about 4 feet on one of the concrete ramps where he reached water.
Normally he would have had about 4 times that much walkway.
Notice all the debris that is already washing up against the ramp.
This pair of critters seem very happy for the extra living room…
How can there be a day at the lake without a squirrel stretched out at a full run past the top of one of the flooding ramps?!

While out at the lake yesterday, a friend spotted a snake.
We soon had T. J. Hilliard there to identify the long thin snake that I am holding.
It is a queen snake Regina septemvittata.
It is nonvenomous, is a water snake, and a native species.
The queen snake has very specific living requirements.
It is only found where there are clean running streams and water sheds.
The presence of the queen snake can help us know that the condition of Jordan lake is great!
the photo is curtesy of T. J. Hilliard

TJ2_9017-2

My friend and I realized this turtle was not moving through the water.  It was tangled in fishing line, hooks and sinkers.
The turtle couldn’t break free from the tangled mess.
Taking some discarded fishing line, a couple of hooks I found in the trash along the shore line and some sinkers we also found, my friend made a “fishing rig”.
Then he quite expertly hand cast the line past the turtle and hauled the line in with the turtle snagged in his rig.
After wading ashore my friend and I worked the fishing lines off and removed the hooks and weights.
We sat the turtle down at the edge of the water and waited.
The turtle poked his head out and up.  The right front foot reached out and then the left front foot.  Soon followed by the hind feet and tail.
Realizing he was free the turtle scooted into the waves and was gone.  We were glad to see him go!  See the video below the photo for the turtle  release.
turtle rescue

When the lake is still and the sunlight is just above the horizon
the clay that often occurs in the lakebed reflects and tints everything with a burnished brassy hue.
These shiners and their shadows clearly stood out as they slowly swam past the point.

WALK2129 May 29 2015 @ 10-43-41 New Hope Shiners shadows