Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River, October 2, 2020. It was a big bird day: a fledgling bald eagle over head. It was a little bird day: a red-breasted nuthatch in flight. Migratory update: I last saw the Kirtland’s warbler at noon on Wed. at the dam, did not see her Thursday or Friday. I have been watching palm warblers and Cape May warblers in the same area. Most likely the Kirtland’s has headed on towards the Bahamas – I hope her flight goes well!

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: the Kirtland’s warbler was still at the riprap this morning! I caught her feeding on protein packets, aka: spiders, mites, caterpillars and insects. She was quite busy and very intent on feeding up for the next leg of her journey flight to the Bahamas. About half-way through the slide show she gets a small critter of some sort and quickly swallows it and goes right back to hunting. I don’t know if the stormy weather tonight will send her on south or if she will stay another day or two. It was grand watching other birders get their first glimpse of a Kirtland’s warbler – a feast for my heart.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: RARE bird alert! I photographed this female Kirtland’s warbler at the riprap this morning. It was removed from the federally endangered species list in 2019 and is still considered threatened with a global breeding population of about 3600 birds. It was passing through here from its breeding grounds in Michigan and heading for its wintering grounds in the Bahamas. A new life list bird for me!

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: You know the saying “the best laid plans of mice and men (and photographers)? Photo bomb! Just as the bald eagle caught her fish, an American crow decided to zip along side of her. The crow did make a rather interesting abstract form that nicely framed the eagle.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River:  We are all probably familiar with the soft coos of the mourning dove.  Some of us know well the whistling sound of their wings when they take off and land.  What some of us have not seen is just how differently the mourning dove lands when it does so on the ground.  I have been photographing the landing sequence of the mourning dove for a number of years, trying to catch the moment that their feet touch the ground.  The dove is extremely fast and erratic in take off, flight and landing.  But, I was determined to show you the vertical, yes vertical, landing of the mourning dove. The bird comes in, pulling himself upright, lands on his tail feathers and drops immediately into a more horizontal position and then rapidly walks forward.  It is neat!  I have made the video loop twice and on the second pass, please note that the further away bird also landed vertically and rapidly walked forward. The back dove is blurred and this is how too often my photos turned out as I tried to catch that vertical moment of a dove’s landing.