Thursday, January 21, 2010

SCENES ON THE TENNESSEE RIVER



 click on photos to enlarge

That fellow above showed up when I was preparing to beach the boat in order to remove it from the river.  The beaver swam straight toward the boat from my right side (river side), dove under the boat and emerged at the shoreline where I took the above shot.  He took me by surprise big time!  There will be more photos of him later in this blog.
The day started with torrential downpours.  I did not think I would be able to launch the boat.  I wanted to visit the Bald Eagle nest that I watch every year.  I missed last years fledglings flight from the nest and I don't want to be late this year.  There were no adults near the nest today, however, but I have seen them flying about the nest a week ago when I was in a vacant parking lot on the opposite side of the river.  The adults have been carrying new limbs and branches to the nest almost on a daily basis, I'm told.

That is one big nest!

There were no eagles to watch so I turned my attention to the thousands of gulls that were grabbing all the chopped up fish that were coming through the power turbines at the dam.  There appeared to be two gull "thought processes."   The majority of the birds were hanging out at the dam taking the easy pickings and another group were downstream fishing in the traditional way.  Interesting......



I left this shopping mall atmosphere and let the current float the boat downstream.  No need to run the motor as the dam was discharging water and there was a lot of force to the current.  The above photo shows some pretty rough water.  There is no wind.  That is all turbine power.  There is some amazing force at work there.  Something caught my eye up in a tree on the left side of the river.  I floated that direction with the help of the electric trolling motor on the front of the Gheenoe.  Look what I found.  It is a Black Vulture and he is drying out his wings in the sun.



He's a pretty fellow.


I let the Gheenoe float on down stream.  Then I saw one of my little friends flitting through the trees.  The Kingfisher is a challenge to photograph.  This little pip squeak was not having any of me at all.  I just couldn't get close.  My 400 mm lens is off getting warranty work done to it and all I have is this 300 mm.  I'll get the little guy somehow.




He is a fast little guy.  At last he sits still.  But, I won't be able to approach close.


We'll drift on down stream a little farther.  I notice the temperature is dropping rather rapidly.  Something must be happening weather wise.

The river has a different feel to it than the lake does.  It's not a feel really;  its more an atmosphere kind of thing.  Maybe ambiance is the best term.  The river has a different kind of beauty.  A flat lake is breath taking when Spring arrives.  One thing is certain;  Winter still has its clutches on the landscape.  We humans become lulled into the idea that Summer is just around the corner.  Nature boasts a cold, bleak looking shoreline indicating there is quite a way to go before hard times are over.

Perhaps some gull photos would be in order.


 







I watched a gull fishing and he dove and missed his mark three times.  Finally he connected.  These are super birds.  I was wondering what the fish looked like when they look down through the surface of the water.



They don't offer much of a photo challenge but, they are beautiful and worthy of photographing.  The Great Blue Heron rates right up there with the great birds of the lakes and rivers.






I better turn the boat around and start back.  I've floated a long way.  This is a super day.  I'm happy I decided to take the plunge (no pun intended) and put the boat in the lake.  Wonder what else I can scrounge up.


Looks like a Black Vulture flying very high

And then look what I found.  Another Kingfisher.  I need my 400 mm lens very badly.











And then the attack came from a shark.  Well, a carp, I guess.  Very unusual to see one in the middle of the river.


We're nearing the shore line where the boat ramp is.  This is where the beaver swam under the boat.  Here he is swimming down along the shoreline.  I shut the engine off and floated beside him.  Oh, for that big 400 mm lens!

He is really a large beaver.  He's long.







There's nothing  left to do now but get the Gheenoe out of the water.  It's been a great day and I've covered the three biggies in the animal world;  fur, fin and feather.  I always wanted to have a situation where I could use those terms together.

This has been a wonderful day.  It's great to be able to access all the natural resources in the area.  There are mysteries to solve and delightful visions to behold out here.  I love it.  You would too I bet.  Break away from the TV and take a walk out into the forest and along the streams.  There is another world that parallels the one we live in and it's waiting for your discovery.  It's called the natural world.  It is a marvelous place to visit.  See you next time.  Be kind to a pooch.  They'll love you their entire life in return.