Friday, March 11, 2011

UNDER THE WEATHER

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This is the last day off for me this week.  I haven't accomplished much on the "out of doors" front.  I have been plagued with some type of cold or virus that came over me on Monday and I'm just starting to shake it.
The temperatures outside have been less than desirable also.  Very intense, heavy rain every day this week has turned the lakes brown and ugly looking.
Higher than usual winds prevent putting the canoe in the water.  Lots of excuses.  This weather has to break soon.






Woods flowers are out and the tree leaves will soon be turning lush green.  It can't happen too soon for me.








I thought I might get some good bird pictures at the old state park ruins area but, the grounds are inundated with beagles and rabbit hunters.  I could only find one cardinal to photograph and he was too far away for a good picture.




It's interesting to know that hunting is permitted in a state park.  Pennsylvania game laws forbid hunting on state park properties.  Tennessee has strange game laws and often times contradictory regulations.  I guess hunting deer and rabbits here are exempt from the information on signage.  Oh well!  I notice that public hiking trails are open to hunting in Tennessee also.   That's one place I think should be off limits to hunting.  There are wild places that should be held in isolation from the gun, I think.  Even the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is open to bear hunters for a period of time each year.  Talk about a contradiction of priorities where peaceful wilderness and the sounds of gun fire coexist!    I'm not an anti hunter but;  I believe there are unique places in the wilds that should just be left alone.
Shade just returned after chasing a rabbit.  I think she finds more rabbits than the beagles do that the hunters are using.  No;  actually she just moves constantly in all directions, investigating every clump of grass and naturally finds rabbits.  She hasn't a prayer of ever catching one.



OK;  what made the track?  If I had to take a guess I'd say it's a woodchuck.  I should have laid a quarter down beside the track for sizing.  A skunk makes a track like that but I think not that size of a print.  Note there are five toes and the claws appear also.
I'll stick with woodchuck.  This track was found ten yards off shore next to a grassy field.   It's not a cat for sure.  If it is a woodchuck it's a big one...

I notice that TWRA has burned more of the tall grasses from select tracts of land.  This is a really good thing as it will stimulate new growth which will serve the wildlife well through summer.  I wonder if the chiggers will be affected by the burn?  I sure hope so....



Douglas sure is a handsome boy!  Lean and young.  I'm trying my best to keep him healthy and strong.  He's a looker for sure!
It's getting windy and I'm feeling a bit of a chill.  I forgot my hat too, which doesn't help matters.  I guess I better collect the guys and head back to the truck and leave the old park to the rabbit hunters.  At least I got the dogs out today for a bit of excitement.  Hopefully I'll kick this malady that has claimed my strength and be back on the water next week.  Until then;  thank you for looking in on the blog....Oh; below is a clip from last Summer.  It's a Gheenoe ride on Tellico Lake.  Look how excited Douglas is about it all.  He's a piece of work.  I promise next weekend will be a super outing.  I have four days off in a row.  Hope you like the clip.