Sunday, April 25, 2010


click on photos to enlarge
Yesterday was a fantastic day.  The eagles cooperated and so did the sun.  I was able to get the best eagle pictures ever.  I pulled the boat into the lot at home, unhitched it and it started pouring rain.  Perfect timing.
The day before yesterday was also a perfect day.  My good friend Bob and I drove our motorcycles on a leisurely ride to Apalacha Lake in North Carolina.  We stopped for a deli sandwich and enjoyed the moment.  I did finally find one place, and one place only to put a boat on the lake. 
At home, I prepared the new born puppies and mother for the coming storm.  They are fine and the puppies are beautiful.  The mother, below, is the sweetest dog on the planet.  I've never come in contact with a more loving, adoring animal.  

That leaves today to deal with.  The wind is roaring so that leaves out the canoe.  I hate motoring through white caps in the Gheenoe, and the motorcycle would be pushed around by the cross winds.  This would be a great day to take the dogs out to the woods beside the lake.  And so we went.
Spring is great!  Everything is green and alive.
We are about two miles into the hike when I decided to take a break.   I carry the big camera in a "camera backpack" and it is a heavy load.  I wish I would have left it at home.
I rarely see critters when the wind is up.  But, one never knows.
My intentions were to camp on the lake this weekend but it seems storms changed my mind.  It will be a long summer and many more opportunities will present themselves.  I can't believe the dogs are tired.  They are actually laying down and being still.  I'll have to be careful of them as the sun heats up this summer.  They don't know when to quit.  One thing about hanging out with me;  there's usually a lake nearby for them.

We only went about two miles around the lake and into the forest.  This pack is heavy.  We'll cross the farmer's fence on the way back.  Then, I think we'll just go home and lounge around and enjoy the wind.
Tomorrow's another day to get into something. 
I want to throw a few pictures on this entry from the motorcycle ride Bob and I took to North Carolina and Apalacha Lake.
Above sit our trusty horses.  As I stated in a previous blog entry; I had problems finding a boat launch site for the lake.  There is good reason.  Only one launch site exists.   That one site is located at the power house below Hiwassee Dam.
The launch site is picturesque and remote.  There is a gate at the entrance to the power house and I'm not sure if they lock it at night or not.  I hate being gated in anywhere.
The ramp has a few enormous boulders that have been set in place to break up the flow from Hiwassee Dam.  The interesting thing is that these huge chunks of rocks have been moved helter skelter that is reflective of some immense cosmic disaster;  namely, the release from the Hiwassee Dam.  Not sure I want to be launching a boat when that dam releases water.
The launch area is quaint and beautiful, as is the channel leading away from it.
This lake is gorgeous and primitive.  That is what attracts me to it.  I think I could paddle a canoe here all day long.
There's the culprit!  That shot was taken from the boat launch area.  The narrow water that guides one away from the boat launch soon opens up into a gorgeous lake.  The number 1100 acres seems to stick in my mind.  She's a beauty for sure.

It's amazing there are no boat launches anywhere but the powerhouse.  I guess that's why it's so attractive and primitive.  We left the powerhouse and stopped at the visitor center at Hiwassee Lake.  I took a few shots from the balcony overlooking the lake.  Look how far down the banks the water is.  I've never seen it any higher and most times a lot lower.
A couple pictures from the Hiwassee Visitor Center were in order.  One display explained how all the TVA lakes lay in relationship to their rivers.
We packed up and left.  The Dragon, Route 129, is closed so we elected to return home by following the Acoe River Gorge up to Tellico Plains.  Below is the Acoe River
The picture below has nothing to do with anything.  There are a lot of folks down here who think the South should have won the war.  That would be the Civil War.  They're mighty proud of their heritage.
A quick break in the ride for a drink of water and back on the road to home.  I miss my dogs.
It was a great ride and I enjoyed Bob's company.  We hadn't ridden together in a long time.  Felt good to be on the road together again. 
That's it for this week.  Take care and be kind to a dog.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


click on photos to enlarge
The above is the kind of flower field where two lovers run towards each other and meet with a tight embrace;  he lifts her up and turns once around holding her tight, stands her down and kisses her lips.  The scene is highlighted by the endless color yellow that goes on and on forever.
In reality, the field of yellow is made up of canola plants.  It is acre upon acre of canola.  You've certainly heard of canola oil.  This is the plant, that when processed, produces that oil.
I must admit that I have never seen fields of canola.  I had to ask some locals about the acres of yellow fields.  It seems that they harvest this plant and ship it to factories in Georgia for processing.  I have lived in these parts for five of the six years I have been in Tennessee and have never seen this crop.
I had difficulty capturing the image on digital as I didn't have my Elph camera with me.  The smallest lens available was a 135 mm for the 50D Canon.  It is difficult to take macro with that lens.  The above offering is the best I could do with that lens.  The canola flower is a beautiful one.
Today is the second day off of four in a row and heavy rain is predicted by the weather people.  I ran down to the Little Tennessee River to check on the baby eagles.  The sky was overcast and I thought maybe I could avoid the usual sun in the eyes problem.  Photographic conditions were better today.   Yesterday was a motorcycle ride South to Apalacha Lake in North Carolina.  I wanted to try one last time to find a way to put a boat on that lake.  I found it.  A friend and I had a wonderful ride through some fantastic forests and perfect roads.  I may post some photos of that ride at the end of this blog entry.
I am amazed at the size of the baby eagles.  They have doubled their size since I last saw them seven days ago.  Both Junior and his sibling appear fine and healthy.   Something tells me this may be the last time I will see them as they will surely be gone within the next few days.  I'll try to get down one more time this week.  The following are today's photographs.  It's not every day one can record images such as these.  I feel privileged to have the opportunity.
They have doubled in size in a week.  The sibling will appear shortly.
look over against the tree.  The sibling.
I took three hundred shots.  I won't bore you too much longer with many of the same poses.  We'll move on to a different subject shortly and then return to the eagles.  I have some different material as I was leaving the river.
I didn't want to be a concern to the young eglets so I drifted on down the river with the current.  I could hear the shrieking of the parents somewhere back in the trees indicating they were becoming disturbed with my presence.
I like to hug the shoreline when I'm on the river.  There are many interesting things to see.  My eyes scan every rock ledge and every tree for movement.  Below are a pair of goose eggs.  I fear they have been deserted.  Probably the geese were disturbed by passing boats and fishermen who fish slowly past and close to the rock cliffs.
I feel a sense of remorse for the geese who laid these eggs.  Their entire existence revolve around the process of replacing themselves;  the moment of birth.  The pair who laid these eggs will not realize their potential this year.  It is a dramatic feeling by human standards but, to the geese it probably is just another day.  The future will allow another try at reproduction.  I can't help but feel sorry for the parents as I float further and further away from the solitary eggs precariously positioned on the rock face.

I watched a butterfly rolling the mud into little balls and attaching the tiny grains to its legs.  For what purpose I don't know.  I've seen this before and never understood it.  I need to study my wildlife books some more.  I captured these images while still in the boat and about forty feet from the shoreline.  This camera lens I have is a good one.
And off he goes
It's pretty hard to hold a camera on a butterfly at 40 feet with a 500 mm lens.  Whew;  heavy!
There are lots of folks who ask me "what's the difference between a turkey vulture and a black vulture?"
Below is a turkey vulture.  Their heads are red for one thing.  Secondly, they can smell carrion up to ten miles away.  The black vulture is primarily a sight hunter.  They do not have the olfactory abilities that the turkey vulture has.
Turkey Vulture
And the Black Vulture.  Note the black hairless head.  Quite different than the red head of the turkey vulture
Black Vulture
I like to just take pictures of any critter that comes along..  I'll have to find out what this bird is.  My bird identification abilities is limited.  I'm getting better but I'm afraid there's a lot of work to be done
I drove back past the baby eagles as I was heading back to the boat ramp.  I'm glad I did.  Mom was in the nest feeding the babies.  These pictures may seem common but I assure you they are not.  To photograph a nest of bald eagle babies with the mother in the nest feeding them is a privilege that doesn't come along routinely.
Look closely.  Junior is with the mother.  She is tearing pieces of fish apart for him.  His sibling is to their right.  He is somewhat camouflaged.
They're the symbol of our country;  our freedom;  the American way.  They are, I'm afraid, the only real representation of the true America that is left.  Our brave soldiers, Our ideals, The constitution and these gorgeous eagles are the glue that holds this nation together.  Look at them and be proud to be born in this great country.  We are free as the eagles you see in these pictures.  They are representative of us.  Free America.   Free.  Well;  at least they are.