Jordan Lake: life at the lake is always surprising me … as with the female fledgling osprey in the first two photos … who is much, much darker in plumage coloration than most ospreys. Her markings are a rich chocolate brown. I have included a photo of a female fledgling osprey in the normal plumage colors I see at the lake. Note the beautiful amber eyes of both birds as well as the white markings at the tips of their feathers.
Osprey Nest Decorations
Jordan Lake: Ospreys are very practical when it comes to nest repair. They are also drawn to decorating their nests. Dad osprey is bringing in a stick for repair, but, note the lichen that is on the stick … you wouldn’t usually catch a bald eagle bringing a decorated stick home. Ospreys will bring all kinds of objects to their nests, such as extra large pinecones, plastic milk jugs, ribbons, mylar balloons and aluminum cans. I wish they didn’t have the jugs and balloons and cans available for them to scavenge. Note that dad very carefully lands the stick next to mom osprey. She chirped at him and got up to place the stick where she wanted it in their home.
Bald Eagle and Mom Osprey
Jordan Lake Dam & Haw River: the riprap at the tailrace has become a traffic jam! There have been more than a dozen ospreys and 4-5 bald eagles all looking for fish. However, the bald eagle is a lazy hunter. In this case, an eagle, about 14 months old, had decided it wanted Mom osprey’s fish. The high speed chase lasted almost 2 minutes. The pursuit went from the dam to the south end of the riprap. Mom osprey dropped her fish at that point and the bald eagle went out over the playground and Mom osprey went looking for another fish in the riprap. This duel often happens where ever ospreys and bald eagles inhabit the same water ways. The photos also let you see the size difference between the two species.
Mom Osprey Fishing
Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River:
Strike! Note: she has quickly flicked her nictitating membrane over her eye as protection.
Head for Home!
Mom osprey on a successful fishing pass within the riprap.
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.
Ospreys have Returned!
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!