Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SOMEWHERE ON FT LOUDON LAKE

click pictures to enlarge 6/24/09. I packed up Douglas and Happy for a morning run on Ft Loudon Lake. We went to a section of lake I had not investigated in prior outings. Fort Loudon Lake is heavily populated by members of the human ilk and I was happy indeed to find this little cove I am sitting in uninhabited. But first, the entry into the boat launch area was a mini adventure of its own. As we pulled in I noticed black vultures sitting on the top of a really nice truck. There were now white pin stripes running down over the window on the drivers side. It appeared as if a third grader was trying his hand at water colors, using white paint. As we approached I noticed an entire flock of vultures on the boat ramp eating fish that someone had thrown there. Fishermen, fishermen; will you never learn? These birds had no fear. They stayed where they were on top the truck while we parked. Douglas noticed the flock of vultures on the boat ramp and took off in that direction. He went over a hill at the ramp and an explosion of vultures erupted into the air with him and, of course, Happy hot on their heels. These dogs certainly could not fend for themselves in the wild as they have never caught anything out here on the lake or in the wood. But Douglas was giving it the ol Golden Retriever try. I think he better focus on the things I throw in the water for him to retrieve and let the wildlife alone. We crossed the lake from the launch and turned into a little cove that meandered a distance from the main lake and curled gently to the right. The shoreline was great for beaching the boat. Actually I could just tie it off and let her float. The water was smooth and gentle and the bank was grass covered. I drove the Gheenoe under an overhanging pine and she softly touched the grassy bank. This is a well shaded area and very comfortable. I brought along a tarp to sit upon, hoping to fool the infamous chigger demons who inhabit these shores. Furthermore; I treated my clothing with "Sawyers Chigger and Tick Repellent." We'll see what happens. I'm seeing multitudes of herons, kingfishers, black vultures and mallard ducks. One lone duck appeared different. At first I thought him a mallard. But the colors were wrong. His size and shape were correct. If he is a mallard, his head feathers are bleached and peppered as if he may be aged. Maybe. As I stated; he was totally alone. I would have loved to set up the camera for a shot at a kingfisher. These birds are wary and rarely sit long enough for the camera to focus. When they fly they really explode away. Its a "gotta go, gotta go" thing with them. They are interesting and beautiful and worth the effort to capture them with the camera. But with these two dogs rocking the boat there is no chance of any kingfisher pictures. I'll have to slip out alone someday on a kingfisher expedition. All the birds spooked at our arrival. They were congregated near an old fallen tree. A pair of Osprey are flying with sticks clutched tightly in their talons, working on a nest somewhere along the tree line. No sense trying for a photo as Douglas was displaying impatience and rocking the boat. Anyway, we are laying on a gently slopeing bank with the little boat languishing serenely in shallow water at the base of this hillside. Both the first and second mates are on board indicating their readiness to be under way. Patience, patience! These dogs are so fortunate to have the diversity of activity I am able to provide them. It reminds me of sorry thoughts about the unfortunates that remain chained their whole lives, never to leave a circle the length of their chain. What an injustice! What a torment they endure! I've got to get the guys back to the yard. In the first place temperature will be in the nineties by noon and the deck of a boat is no place for a furry critter. It's just too hot for them. And in the second place I have to MOW weeds, or grass if you'd rather I use that term. It's all the same. So this will have to be a morning only outing. Four hours of Happy and Douglas together is about enough anyway. He's a happy boy. After MOWING, I may get the canoe out. But MOWING usually tires me out, especially on a super hot day like this. I'll probably go for a bike ride to Watts Bar Dam. Theres an ice cream shop along the way. Until next time---------be kind to a dog. You'll feel good about it.