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Sunday, September 21, 2014

FORSTER'S TERN

EOS Canon 50D with 150 - 500mm Sigma Telephoto IS lens


I pulled over to talk to the occupants of a fishing boat and as an added thought to end the conversation I asked them if they saw any bald eagles up the shoreline.  The replied that they only saw a big ole hawk in a tree, second cove up.  I thanked them and was on my way.
I knew that the guy saw a juvenile bald eagle as his directions lead me directly to the tree where one of the point 18 juveniles perches during the mornings..  The young eagle was airborne riding the thermals when I got there.  I didn't even attempt to push the shutter button on him more than once.
 Every now and again an odd bird will make its debut on the lakes here in East Tennessee from points far away.  I noticed a bird standing on a half submerged limb out in the middle of the lake.  The wind was heavy and the water very rough and wavy with white caps.  There he stood alone all pretty and mysterious - a new one for me. Professional birders may see this bird often and know its name off by heart but I've not seen one on any of these big lakes.  I did notice a tern last month that I posted on the blog that turned out to be a black tern.  He was also a first for me.  Now this guy.  I looked him up in my field guide and he is a Forster's Tern.


These Forster's Terns like marshlands instead of big water (ocean) shorelines.  This is the only tern that prefers this type of habitat.  Of course this little bird is on a lake for some reason.
This little guy is sporting winter plumage.  Summer will find him with a black cap covering his head.

He breeds along the Atlantic Coast from Massachusetts to Texas and from Alberta and California east to the great lakes and he winters from Virginia and southward.  This little fellow is an exclusive North American Tern and, again,  the only tern that resides and prefers marshes.  
 Why these birds often show up without companions is a mystery, but they continuously do.  I've seen pelicans and even an Arctic Skua on these waters here in East Tennessee when they should be hundreds and in the case of the Arctic Skua, thousands of miles away. 

 He looked so tiny and alone way out there in the middle of the lake on his half submerged stick.  I guess he knew what he was doing.  Then, if he did - why was he out here?
I saw this osprey on the return run back to the boat ramp and I decided to see if he would sit for a portrait.  They usually fly off when I approach in this monster white boat but he stayed and stared me down.


 Look at that intense stare!  Wow!  Wonder what he actually sees.
This entry is a short one but I felt good about putting it up there.  The photos pleased me and I think the content was unique, especially the tern.  See ya later and thanks for being there.



Saturday, September 20, 2014

A MORNING WITH EAGLES

EOS Canon 50D with 120 - 400mm Sigma IS lens


The boat ramp at Douglas Dam campground was full of boat trailers and trucks as there must have been a large scale bass tournament underway.  I decided to drive to the opposite side of the lake to put the boat in.  I hate bass tournaments and like to stay clear of them.  I hate to see guys making money on a wild critter even if its a fish.
The morning was really clear with a "just right" temperature for meandering around a lake.  I noted several immature bald eagles flying along the shoreline and hoped for an opportunity to photograph one or two.  The opportunity presented itself in short order as a bald eagle cruised past the boat and headed for the big trees on the mountainside to my right.

 OK, these aren't the best pictures but I couldn't pass them up.  Things might get better later.  This bird is not one of the two that were born this spring to the pair of eagles nesting at point 18 on Douglas Lake.  I can tell this by the coloration on this immature.

 He flew up the side of the mountain and found his favorite perch between two thick tree tops.  What a great place to watch the lake from.  I'm envious!  

A double crested cormorant was being struck directly in the face by the sun and it seemed to brighten up his coloration. 


Another immature bald eagle did a fly by on the boat while crossing the lake and I did the best I could with him.  I feared a strong back light situation would ruin the shots but the blue sky sort of saved things.  The pictures aren't perfect but not bad for the situation.  And, this eagle isn't one of the babies born this year either.  Too much white.  He may be an eagle that migrated down from the far north and just stayed here.  I'll watch him through the winter.






I still can't resist photographing the great egrets.  They are so very elegant and impressive.


 "Who are you?  Hey, who are you anyway?"
 "I'm outa here!"
Check out these guys hanging out on a favorite snag.

 What speed!  Amazing power!

A short stop on the shoreline to pick up a rock revealed some tracks of the local inhabitants.

Then I found the two babies.  One was shrieking and chirping loudly high in a tree. 


 He's a big shot up there!
A second eagle blasted out of the top of a tree near by.  He came straight at me and swerved over the top of the boat top and flew upstream parallel to the boat.  Got him!



This is one of the babies born this spring.  The eagle that follows is the second baby born this spring.  What a find!
 I love these two shots.  What a gorgeous bird and he seems to be perched in paradise.  And so we have siblings - brother and sister.  I wished them well and left them alone.
That wraps up today and I want to thank you for stopping by to check on the wild country.  Pray it stays that way.