Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River:  Aa I photographed this bald eagle, flying towards the rising sun this morning, I found myself thinking about this afternoon and its promise of possibilities: the possibility to once again gather in small groups, the possibility to be responsible in our distances within those groups, the possibility to protect others by wearing our masks.  It is hard, as a social species, to be apart and not gather and hug and hold each other.  But, we humans can do what the bald eagle cannot: we can thoughtfully make decisions and then live by them.  I am waiting as patiently as possible – to know that all of you are safe and healthy. So, go into this afternoon, rejoice and know that this is a first step.   Peace and Grace, Doc Ellen

In this evening’s uncertainties, I found myself wondering just what do I need to do next … what should be my next action.  Then I remembered this 4-year-old bald eagle from January 14, 2019.  He picked his path, set his eye on the perch he wanted and solidly made a landing.  May we all find a perch, a place to stop and breathe and know that we too will stick the landing and greet the next moment with assurance and hope.

I photographed this fledgling yesterday morning. I recognized that the eaglet was one of this year’s fledges … but I didn’t think it was from Jordan Lake as some of our chicks are about ready to fly, but haven’t yet. So I asked for input from one of the eagle experts I know and he suggested that perhaps it had explored it’s way here from Florida as the breeding cycle there is a couple of months ahead of here in NC. It is not unusual for bald eagles to cover more than 200 miles/day when they are out seeing the countryside!

I was trying to capture the light, just so, on a Texas toadflax blossom.  The golden light was fading fast.  Then a shadow appeared and I forgot about the wildflower for a couple of moments.  The young eagle was just starting his second year of life and he was beautiful as the full brightness of a Carolina blue sky filled his sight and my morning.

Bald eagles are not usually sociable. They tolerate a mate and their chicks. Sometimes in winter, bald eagles will congregate around a food source, but argue about it. Once a chick has fledged, the parents will provide it some food and protection into the fall, but then the fledgling is on its own. I have watched, once or twice a year, an eaglet (starting its first or second year of life) make a trip back to its home nest and be briefly tolerated by the parents. On March 26, 2020, I finally got to record one of these encounters. Kate and one of her chicks are visited by the 2019 male fledgling from First Nest. Eventually Petruchio took exception to the visitor and chased it away. I sure am glad I could show you this uncommon bald eagle event!