Briefly, birds

Yesterday, the Indomitable Mr Bugg and I got out for a short outing down at Jordan Lake, checking out conditions and taking a shot at sunset. The latter didn’t really pan out, despite the number of times that we’ve seen terrible skies in North Carolina go completely clear by sundown, but we still managed a few pics here and there. The first stop was over by the nest that was first spotted last year, and pinned down precisely almost a month ago – I regret to say that I hadn’t been back to check on progress/occupancy until now, but at least this trip filled in some blanks.

osprey Pandion haliaetus perched above nest
Yes, the nest is easily visible through a gap in the trees, one that won’t even disappear once the summer foliage is fully established. And yes, the nest is apparently in use this year, though not by bald eagles but instead by osprey (Pandion haliaetus.) Eagles would have been more welcome, since getting this close to an eagle nest would be stunning, but hey, I’ll take the osprey. Unfortunately, the viewing angle is much lower than last year’s family, so likely little will be seen until the young are close to fledging age, and I’ll remain on the lookout for other nests.

Meanwhile, a nice stretch by the occupant, or bellhop or whatever title applies.

osprey Pandion haliaetus stretching above nest
The downside of this is, we were just as visible (probably a lot more so) to the osprey, which may make the nest occupants a little anxious, so we’ll have to monitor their behavior carefully so as not to spook them off.

There wasn’t a lot of activity at one of our old haunts down by the water – well, not the activity that we were after, anyway. There was practically a traffic jam of boaters at the ramps due to the warmer weather, while the recent rains had driven the lake level up well over a meter and thus flooded out the paths along the edge that we would hike along to spot more species. And as the day wore on, the sky became heavily overcast and so the light went to shit. But before that happened, I managed a number of frames of another osprey as it wheeled overhead.

osprey Pandion haliaetus cruising overhead
The afternoon was gusty before the clouds rolled in, and the bigger birds were taking advantage of this. A plethora of vultures was wheeling around practically in formation, and a couple of juvenile eagles were spotted at a moderate distance, though I obtained no really promising photos of the latter. And seagulls, but I routinely ignore them now unless there’s some kind of fartistic or behavioral composition I can do with them. There were plenty of cormorants, mostly remaining at a distance, but one fishing specimen cruised close by and did some proud poses with its catch.

double-crested cormorant Nannopterum auritum in water with captured fish
Double-crested cormorants are now Nannopterum auritum instead of Phalacrocorax auritus, because they have to keep selling bird books I suppose – I actually put red asterisks in my Sibley’s Guide by all the scientific names that I’ve found that are outdated, and there’s a lot of them. Meanwhile, I tweaked this image slightly because, while I did indeed dial in some exposure compensation for the brightness of the water, it wasn’t actually enough, so it’s been boosted slightly in post. As dark as it was, I still caught enough color from its eye to show up when brightened.

But anyway, the photography season is getting going, so the number of posts and photos (current photos) should be improving soon.