Jordan Lake: Usually when ospreys have a disagreement, it is worked out through lots of chatter, high pitched squeals and a couple of bluff dives. There was no bluffing involved in this dispute between two adult female ospreys. None. I think the aggressor was on her own turf and decided she was going to make sure the other female left. I have never seen one osprey deliberately strike another osprey but that is what happened. Yikes! Neither seemed the worse for the encounter as both flew out over the lake, still screaming.
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.
The fledgling great blue heron is alert and watching for fish. The turtle is watching for food too. I sometimes think that the turtles wait for the herons to drop tidbits and they can share a meal.
Jordan Dam, Haw River: I had seen the black vulture flock come into the parking lot earlier. They are always looking for left over hotdogs and fried chicken pieces. They are quite adept at taking the lids off the trashcans and helping themselves to the human throw-aways that are inside. My attention was drawn back to the vultures when I heard the lid of the trashcan hit the pavement. I started photographing as one of the younger vultures noticed the sign … I could almost hear him thinking, “my friend is stuck in the trashcan, he needs help, and well, just how am I supposed to dial 911 when I don’t have an iPhone?”. I put my camera down, quietly walked up on the flock, gently tipped the trashcan over on its side freeing the vulture inside of it. The flock chirred their thanks and we watched the embarrassed vulture walk away. Sometimes, you just never know what will happen at the lake…
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!