Jordan Lake, Haw River: While out with Captain Doug on the lake yesterday, we spotted this fledgling great blue heron. The youngster was hatched this spring, but, his young age doesn’t keep him from knowing with absolute certainty that all of the shoreline belongs to him. He walked the fallen tree to the end and surveyed his world.

Jordan Dam, Haw River: How does a great blue heron go about swallowing a fish that is bigger than his own head and throat? Remembering that birds are living dinosaurs and therefore closely related to reptiles, I think the birds work at relaxing the muscles of their jaw and throat until they can work their way around the fish. You will see several pauses while this fledgling heron goes utterly still – I think that is when he is resting and allowing his muscles to stretch. That’s my take on the situation. He also occasionally dips the fish back into the water to keep it wet and maintain its slipperiness. The whole episode took more than 10 minutes … I have put up only the last part of the heron’s work. As to the trash, I wish people were more careful about the environment and took their trash out with them.

 

Jordan Lake, Haw River: Great blue herons are actually gray, until, just until you see them, literally in the right light. Such as finding this fledgling great blue heron this morning in the shadows of the banks of the riprap as the sun had fully cleared the horizon. Azure blue air, water and heron!