Tuesday, December 29, 2009


click on pictures to enlarge

Flocks of cardinals gathered in the trees.  They flitted through and between the branches like little ruby beams of light.

I could see this would be a bird kind of day.  I'm not real good at bird identification but, I'll try.  I do know some of the more common ones.

I always have a subconscious smirk or, rather a grin on my face when I watch him.  I guess it's because I enjoy watching him have fun.  He waits for me daily to return to the habitat after work and he has to be enduring boredom.  I know that dogs live for the moment but, an all week wait is a long moment.  Douglas, Shade and Happy had the entire day to enjoy doing what they enjoy most.

The sky was the most vivid blue!  No filter was needed on the camera lens.  Simply spectacular!  I've never seen such bright blues.   I had to photograph the sky.   Well, it was a pretty sky.

We walked across the fields today.  The feeling was great to move unencumbered across the meadow.  A wooded area at the edge of the field presented an enticing destination.  Actually the wooded area was not much more than trees bordering the meadow.  Beyond lay the lake. 

I carry my camera lenses in a photography backpack.  It is sort of like a regular hiking backpack accept the interior is designed to hold camera and lenses with associated equipment.  We had walked approximately two miles to this spot and I decided to take that thing off and sit down awhile to watch the dogs.  It was then that I noticed another little bird flitting about on the upper tree trunks.  There were many of them moving from tree to tree investigating the spaces under the loose pieces of bark.  They were Downy woodpeckers.  What a beautiful little guy.

Downy's can be confused with hairy woodpeckers and I make that mistake all the time.  They have the same markings accept that the face of the Downy's is covered with a more prominent mask.  I hope I've identified this bird correctly.  I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong.

This bird is becoming very prominent today.  I've never seen so many of them at one time.

It felt good to lay back and put my head against the backpack.  I was hoping the dogs would stay back in the fields and away from me for awhile.  Birds won't come close with the dogs nearby.  Now, here's a cute little fellow.

OK;  I'll take a guess.  yellow rumped warbler

I'm not sure.  Flycatcher, maybe?

These shots will have to be enlarged to see these little guys.  Just click on the picture.  They should enlarge.

I'll stick with yellow rumped warbler.  If any of you know different;  please put it in the comment box at the end of the entry.

The wind is starting to take the body heat away and its time to start walking again.  These fields are beautiful even in the color brown.  I love to see the change to green in the Spring but, these brown colors catch the light and have their own glamorous look.

An old silo projects prominently from the thicket, a testament to folks who made their lives whole by living on this land.  The farm long gone but, remnants of those days can still be found if one looks.

The breeze causes the golden stalks to sway back and forth and reflect the sunlight from their feathery tops.  Some areas of the field appear to Eb and flow as if they were a body of water.  The grasses on high ridges bend in one direction with the wind, the sun reflected off their stalks rather than the tops.  "Shade;  Come!"

Douglas blends into the willowy grass.  Sometimes I have to watch the top of the grasses in the fields to know where he is.  What a wonderful pal.

Thats my boy.

Well;  its late and the wind is making the air very cold.  We better move back toward the truck.  I dedicated this day to my kids..  They used it wisely and enjoyed every minute.  I hope this place stays out of the land speculator's vision forever.  "Come on guys;  lets go.  Douglas;  come."

"Good Boy."

It's back to work tomorrow so, until next outing;  be kind to a dog.  They need your help.....

Monday, December 28, 2009


click on photo's to enlarge

Coots and Gulls seem to be the only things on the lakes these cold days.  I haven't run the boat for about three months and it has been sitting with a full tank of gasoline all that time.  Marine engines are susceptable to water contamination due to the wet environment they operate in.  The real concern is the ethanol content of the fuel causing big problems.  I needed to burn that old gasoline out of that tank.  So, today I would take the Gheenoe to Tellico Lake and drive upstream and onto Ft Loudon Lake.  That run would be about 29 miles one way and 58 miles round trip.  The water was very choppy when I put the boat in the water but I didn't care.  I had to get that gas used up and today was the only day I had.  The themometer at the Shell gas station read 34 degrees.  People looked at me as if I was nuts to go out on the water today.  They obviously are not fisher people.  Some of the best fishing here in Tennessee occurs when the weather is at its worse.  But, I digress.  The engine came to life and after a minute of idle;  we were off.
The North end of Tellico Lake and Ft Loudon Lake are not my favorite bodies of water.  North Tellico and the entire Ft Loudon Lake are lined with homes and mansions both sides of the water.  In my mind, houses along a lake walks a fine line between beauty and litter.  I'd much rather see pines and hardwoods lining the edge of the lake.

The people build houses and with that comes the boats.  There are some monster size boats that cruise these two lakes.  These lakes are pleasure lakes that fill with water skiers and jet skis in the Summer months.  It is difficult to fish with all that going on.  But; these folks put a lot of money back into the lake too.  So I guess it all works out for the best.  I'd rather be on Calderwood.  But, I have to get rid of this stale gasoline I'm carrying.

Beauty or litter.  I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The wind has been picking up slowly as I move North over the water.  Its kind of unique to be out here without a plan or a destination.  All I have to do is run this tank of fuel out and it doesn't matter how long it takes or where I end up.  I will call this day a sightseeing day.  There are a lot of really neat land formations that stick out of the water.  They are visable because the lake is drawn down.  I haven't been on Ft Loudon Lake in two years so this is a bit of a treat for me.  It's like new water.

The lake really spreads out wide the closer I get to Ft Loudon Lake.  The chop is getting pretty rough to fly over and I am forced to drop speed to about 23 miles per hour.  I am getting close to Lenoir City Park, where I want to tie off and take a break.  There are usually ducks near the park and I hope to get some good pictures.

Theres another cilo.  Looks like another farm went to the bottom of the lake when TVA flooded the valley.
I eased the Gheenoe on up to the boat dock and it barely touched the bumper on the dock.  I tied off to a cleat and grabbed the camera and stepped off.  The water was covered with ducks and  coots.  Gulls were circling overhead.  I should be able to get some good pictures here.

Wow!  This is coot city.  There are families of coots all over the place.  This is going to be great.  Note the difference between a coot and a duck.  Look at the beaks of the two.  I'll put a coot next and then a mallard.

Here's the mallard

The coots were by far the most interesting to watch.  They were full of antics.  Ocassionally one would chase another coot in play.  They would race each other to what appeared to be a speck of food floating on the surface of the water.  Enjoy them.

How can they stand that 46 degree water?

Ever wander what happens to that cute Easter duck you bought for your son or daughter?  Remember the day you took it down to the park and left it out to fend for itself?  This white duck is such a duck.  It belongs to no wild species yet it can and will propogate.

These castaways can and do survive out here, usually near a park where passersby offer food both in Summer and in Winter.  They also cross breed with wild species and many times inbreed.  The offspring are, at times, ridiculous in appearance.  Humans have no compassion, or maybe I should change that to no understanding of what they do.  So, the cute little white duck mates with the cute little semiwild, crossbred duck and they end up with the duck you see below:

Handsome isn't it, he, she, or whatever it is.  Just as in dogs;  be sure you want it;  be sure you can care for it until it dies before you take on the responsibility for it's well being.  As you can see above;  it isn't a joke and it isn't a kind thing to discard a domestic animal out into the wilds.  The sad thing about this is that pure wild species can and will breed with these, these genetic half breeds,  thereby weakening the species.  Again;  think before you leap into pets.
A flock of gulls has started circling.  What a splendid bird.  They are so graceful.  Enjoy them.

This particular gull dove right in on the boat totally unafraid.  Magnificent in flight

I was getting really cold and have decided to leave.  It would be a long, long way back to Tellico Lake from here.

It was good to visit this park.  I used to launch the government boat from this boat ramp.  That seems ages ago.  I haven't been on this lake very much since those days.  Not much changed.

The water is very choppy now.  It's hard to hold full throttle in this chop.  What is that way ahead there?  Great Scott!  The size of it!

That thing must have made a wrong turn at the Atlantic Ocean.

How much boat does a man need?  Lots I guess.
It will be good to get back on to Tellico Lake.  At least the mountains are visable down there and there aren't a many houses along the shoreline.  I hate clutter.  Ah;  thats a better view.

Down between that cut between the cliffs and a hard left and a right and I'm home.  I'll put some marine stabilizer into the fuel tank and fill it up to the top.  Good for three more months.  I hope you enjoyed the ride today.  It was a very cold one.  Till next time;  be kind to a dog.  It will feel good.......