Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: sometimes Mother Nature makes me heartedly laugh! This great blue heron appears to have special antennae just for locating fish. But joyful laugher aside, the plumes are there because it is the start of breeding season and he has put on his finery. The season is also why his chest plumes are so extravagant. The wind tossed those special feathers every which way. Those plumes almost caused the extinction of herons and egrets in this country: back when ladies wore elaborate hats and wanted those feathers to add to their perceived finery.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: On a fishing dive, an osprey picks up a lot of water. Water is heavy at 8 pounds per gallon. The osprey is an efficient flyer so once it gains some height above the water, the bird does a shake to throw off the excess water and its weight. I love watching the shake start at the bird’s beak and finally flipping off at the end of its tail – just like a very wet dog. The bright morning light striking the scattering drops makes the osprey a sparkling sunburst.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: Mom Osprey got herself a fish this morning. She hit the water, grabbed the fish and was gone out over the dam almost before I knew she was there! The glittering sunshine sure made her a brilliant brooch against the river.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: Dear Momma Osprey!  Welcome back to your breeding home here at Jordan Lake.  You are always my reliable signal that Spring is just around the bend.  What a tremendous flight you have taken … more than 3000 miles from South America to North Carolina.  I am glad you had the endurance and good winds to get back here again!

Jordan Lake: I am free in my pursuit to photograph our National Emblem because the Veterans we honor this Veteran’s Day gave us a gift we can just barely understand. These Veterans had the courage to accept the call to protect the Liberty enshrined in our Democracy – they accepted even though they might die for their faithfulness. My heartfelt thank you to those Veterans who are now memories and to those who still breathe the air they help protect. I hope this image of the American Bald Eagle can say what my words cannot speak: your selfless dedication soars on the Wings of an Eagle.