Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: Great blue herons are very territorial, and are that way from the moment they fledge from the nest.  Each bird wants his share on the shoreline … and will fight to maintain control of the area.  The fledgling great blue heron tried to land on the shore of the riprap.  He was promptly flattened by a subadult great blue heron – about 1 1/2 years-old – who had a stake on that piece of property.  The ensuing fight was loud and quite aggressive on both sides.  The fledgeling is the one whose head is mostly a mottled brown and the subadult has a lot of white on his face and the beginning of the black striped cap of an adult.  Neither bird seemed worse for the fight as the fledgling, for the moment relinquishing thoughts of acquiring the piece of shoreline, headed for the opposite side of the river.  It finally got quiet on the riprap.

The great blue herons are sorting out where the best fishing spots are within the riprap.  The heron on the left is a juvenile, hatched last year.  The heron on the far right is an adult and I think it is a female.  The middle heron, who’s priority is evident while he eats and ignores the sparring of the other two, is a mature male great blue heron.  The juvenile is using his crown feathers in a raised display, hoping to get the smaller heron to back off.  It didn’t work.  Right as I got to the end of the sequence, a 4th (unseen great blue heron) dove into the middle of the other three and they all scattered.

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE FISHING LINE BEHIND, PLEASE.

     Doc is Heart-Sick and Angry about 3 young birds at Jordan Lake. All 3 are in trouble because someone couldn’t take the time to put broken line in the trash. A few steps to save a bird is all I am asking. Please remove trash of all kinds and help the birds and fish and people have a clean environment.

     Today we found 3 different birds in trouble at Jordan Lake – ALL three due to carelessly left behind fishing line.
     1) This young cormorant has line wrapped through it’s bill and then wrapped around its neck. You can see the swelling behind the line on the throat. This bird probably won’t make it because the line will restrict his ability to swallow a fish.
     2-4) This is an immature great blue heron – one of this year’s babies. There is a cluster of fishing hooks snagged in its neck. There is fishing line trailing from the hooks, down around its body and trailing behind it. This bird might make it if the wound in the neck doesn’t get infected.
     5) I don’t have a photo yet of the 3rd bird – it is one of this year’s fledgling ospreys. It has fishing line wrapped all around one foot and the foot is swollen. The osprey can still fly so we have no way to catch it. The Rangers are closely watching the youngster. If it becomes immobilized they will do their best to get to it to help.

Fledgling
Many different species of birds are fledging at Jordan Lake right now.
I quietly watched this great blue heron this morning.
This new flier is about 8 weeks old and has probably been flying for only a few days.
 He was exploring the lake shoreline when he discovered that I was watching him.
Full of curiosity he ambled closer for a look.

 

Time for a Ramble in the Jordan Lake Neighborhood
 
The Cooper’s hawk is small, swift and often takes medium-sized birds while in flight.
 
 
 
Cedar waxwings are winter visitors here.
They love cedar berries and you can see the red “wax” at the inside lower edge of this one’s wing.
 
 
 
 
 
The first time I saw a Bonaparte gull I thought it was some species of tern.
These are dancers just above the water as they hunt for fish.
 
 
 
 
Immature great blue herons often look like they are feathered in a wash made from grey and pink pearls.