Sunday, February 13, 2011


click on photos to enlarge
The handsome guy above is a yellow bellied sapsucker.
I loaded the canoe on the truck and drove up to Indian Boundary Lake this morning for a photography session with the otters.  I couldn't believe what I saw when I arrived.
The lake was almost dry.  The brown areas you see above are normally under water.  Those black things you can see jutting through the soil are tree stumps.  I can't imagine why this lake has to be drawn down so much.  There certainly is no danger of flood situations.  There hasn't been enough snow.
This is the second time I've driven to this lake this Winter and couldn't get on it.  That equals a lot of gasoline wasted, especially in the junker I drive.
I hung around long enough to realize that the otters were indoors.  Actually, their dens would now be above the water.  I'm not sure how lake animals deal with water draw downs.
I would think draw downs would alter the natural ways and habits of mammals, fish and aquatic critters.  But, what do I know?
There are four deer in the picture above.  Can you find them?   Below, two wood ducks paddle against the strong current.  The wind is blowing hard yet, they are relentless in holding to their course.
The ducks were very far out in the water and I almost didn't photograph them.  Even with the 500mm lens,  I can not begin to do them justice.  I guess I simply wanted to accomplish something for the long ride up here.
The morning is ruined and it will be afternoon when I get back.  I guess I'll head for the woods to see if there are any different species of birds flitting about.  The dogs will be happy anyhow.
Sure enough, the yellow rumped warblers were still picking the bark apart.  And a new kid was in town.  Below is the cedar waxwing.
This is a gorgeous bird.  They're antics are really fun to watch. 
Cedar waxwings are rather mysterious.  I remember two years ago at the ruins, there were hundreds and hundreds of them on a Saturday afternoon.  I returned the following day and could not find one.  I'm not sure if they scour the bushes of all the berries and deplete the supply of food, or if they move along to some ancient time piece embedded in their brains.
The birds above are pecking at the loose bark on their tree.  I have seen them eating berries but never insects.  I guess they have to be opportunists this time of year.
The little guy to the left is walking up the tree, stopping occasionally to peck at the bark.

They are so much fun to watch.  Time flies when I observe birds.  I'm starting to learn the species.  I've had a hard time with the field guides that are offered.  But, I'm catching on----slowly...

He appears to be peaking around the tree.  In reality, he has his bill inserted under a piece of bark and will lift it away from the tree.  There must be insect activity even in these cold temperatures.

Now, check out this little guy.  He is a yellow bellied sapsucker.  I heard him hammering on a tree earlier when we arrived.  He just now flew to this tree and is preparing to have lunch.  Yes, there are definitely insects moving.
I used to get this guy confused with the downy woodpecker.  They are very similar. The sapsucker is about 7 1/2 inches tall and the downy is usually about 6 inches tall.  The yellow bellied sapsucker has a larger red scull cap and a larger "mask" around his eyes.  Both birds are wonderful to watch.  We have many of both species here in Tennessee.
Just two more and I'll move on
Below is my favorite shot.  It is the picture that leads into today's blog entry at the very top.  This bird has character.
The opportunity to photograph these birds saved the day for me.  They offer challenge to my ability and the reward is to be able to capture their images for my very own.  I can visit them whenever I want.
How about one more yellow rumped warbler:
I love to capture wildlife in it's natural environment and reproduce the scene in my camera.  I like things to look as natural as possible.   There are a lot of photos published that are created through the act of computer enhancement.  The end result is spectacular but,  that result is not real.  It portrays photographer creativity alright but, the finished piece is sculpted with software.  I guess it's whatever one wants to do with the photo.  I simply want to catch the mood of the shot through actuality.  No enhancement necessary.  And, I am jealous of those shots from Peru that contain all the colors of the spectrum and leap off the page at my face.  How do they do that?   Ha;  lots of money for software.  But, that's ok....I'm sure Ansel Adams would have used software to his advantage too, if he'd had it in his time.
The shot above was taken in the "no hunting area" down at the ruins.  There were five more sticking on plant stems.  Did you hear me?  I took it from the no hunting area (posted) at the ruins.  That's bad enough to hunt in a posted zone but, it's a brazen act to hang the reminder up where all can see.  And, these are the guys we can trust to identify the difference between a sandhill crane and a whooping crane.  Right!  Alright;  I'll let it go.
I couldn't resist including the little guy above in this entry.
Who was it that sang,, "When the Moon Came Over the Mountain?"  You'll never get it.  It was Kate Smith.  I'm giving out my age now.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you check in tomorrow.  I believe it will be a Gheenoe day.