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.
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 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.
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: 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!