Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: I was tracking the great blue heron, hoping it would cross in front of the trees with their fresh light green leaves and give me a nicely composed landscape photo. The heron obliged me and did just that. But, when I got home I found that another critter had managed to get photographed too! Have you found the squirrel yet?

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: Usually, when I sit down to edit my day’s photo shoot, I go chronologically. But this afternoon, I began at the end of the shoot so I could bring you my first eastern tiger swallowtail of this year. Please enjoy the sunny bright colors of the butterfly sipping nectar from the blooming redbud tree. Now, where was I … oh yes … on to the ospreys from this morning.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: “Oh, I know you, you great big eagle, that you think you are the onliest one who can carry a big stick up to your nest,” huffed the chipping sparrow. “I may be only 5 1/2 inches long and weigh less than an ounce, but I am sure I can pick this stick up and take it up to MY nest,” the wee bird earnestly chirped. Then the chipping sparrow grimaced and gathered his muscles as he went to reach for the stick. I was wondering how this was going to end. I didn’t want the little sparrow to lose face, so to speak, if his plan didn’t end well. His attempt was abruptly ended and my full focus on him was jerked around to behind me at the sudden sound of a trash can lid clattering to the ground. In that split second of distraction, the chipping sparrow fled away without his big stick. I was sorry for the little guy and his lost effort, but, … well my human mind said that he had had no hope … but then, hope does tend to spring eternal in both human and bird hearts.