Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DRAINING THE MUD HOLE & OSPREY SURPRISE

click on pictures to enlarge
I immediately knew I messed up when I walked out onto the porch and pulled the front door shut.  I turned around and this is what I saw.  Shade got outside around me somehow.  I wanted to go to the lake alone today as it was the boring part of the lake for a dog.  It would be useless to try and get her back into the house.  "Get in the truck Shade!"
She's laying there worrying I'll try to get her back in the house.  I won't.
I haven't been on the mud hole for a couple days and I was shocked to see the lowered water level.  I did a lake report this morning and discovered the water level dropped almost two feet.  Its only the end of August and early for TVA to start lowering operations.  Two pilgrims drowned in Douglas Lake last week so maybe the lake was drawn down to find their bodies.  The exposed clay above is under water during the summer months.
It looks like the beautiful disguise the lake had adorned itself with for summer is being discarded to expose its true face - the face of ugliness covered with red mud.  Disgusting!
We chugged down the shorelines glassing the water with binoculars trying to find fishing boats.  Three hours past and not a boat could be found.   We were on the afternoon shift so anglers were probably waiting for late afternoon to get on the water.  It would be cooler and the sun would be off the water.
Peanut butter sandwich time and there isn't a grassy area on any beach to park the boat.  Already there's nothing but rock and mud.  I swear that if there was a water ditch leading from this mud hole to a real lake, all the fish would pack their bags and migrate out of here.


I noticed a lone feather.  I wonder what it used to be attached to.  How about a green heron?
An osprey barreled out of a tall tree down the shoreline and came straight toward the boat.  I shoved the entire peanut butter sandwich in my mouth and grabbed the camera.  This is usually how it goes with the camera.  I'm always doing something else when the photo op appears.  I just had time to pop the lens cap off and lift the thing to my face and find the osprey in the view finder.

Got him.  He had a fish.  I didn't notice at the time but, he's been eating on the fish.  Another osprey suddenly appeared from out of nowhere.  

 I must have disturbed them when I pulled in.  One flew down the shoreline in the same direction we were going.  The other headed across the lake.  As we drove past a cliff side lined with tall trees - the osprey flew out and moved further down the coast and landed in a tall, open tree.  If he only will stay put until I can get into decent range!  He did stay and I got the following pictures.



















He has really worked over that fish he has.  I must have disturbed dinner back in the cove.






















The boat was drifting past and I wasn't in position to get his take off.  I took a final shot of him as he was preparing to lift off. 
That osprey was impressive to watch.  I do have the best job in the world for my life style.
The ospreys were the only birds on this end of the lake.  Even the great blue herons were off somewhere else.  The human element is simply too prevalent for them.  This end of the lake is human habitat.  A shame.

We drove along the shoreline and found two more fishermen.  A half hour later the boat grated over a huge rock and a sickening sound was apparent.  I got the engine stopped before the prop could be badly damaged.  What a ridiculous situation.  Damn mud hole!  A look over the gunnels showed the rock ledge below:

We were only at idle speed or this little fiasco could have been a lot worse.  I go over this water daily and didn't give it a second thought.  I guess I better get my mind thinking winter water levels a lot earlier than I expected.
I put the boat in reverse and applied some power.  The engine could not dislodge the boat from the flat rock.  I jumped out onto the rock and pushed the rear of the boat around toward the edge of the ledge.  Back into the boat and fired up the engine and put it in reverse again.  The big boat slowly backed off the rock.  Whew!  This lake is nuts!

Above:  The rock ledge can be see under the engine.  I'm so happy I wasn't going 40 miles per hours when the boat hit this rock.  I marked the menace on the GPS.


One prop blade was slightly tweaked but I fixed it when I went home so no harm done.  

The osprey made my day though.  Beautiful!

Not much happened today in the wildlife category so I'll end this entry here.  I am going back up to  John Sevier Lake later in the week with the canoe so stay tuned in.  Hope you liked the osprey.