Saturday, September 29, 2012

A STRANGE KIND OF DAY FOR ME

If you keep up with this blog you will understand how much I love interstate travel.  I guess this entry is more of what a blog is expected to be - a lot of talking mixed with griping and complaining and explaining.  I couldn't sleep in this morning.  I was to be on the lake at 1 PM and here I was lying awake with three dogs surrounding me snoring away.  (my sweet girls.)
I've got some things on my mind and when my eyes open in the morning I just have to get up.  I've got some serious dental issues coming up in the very near future and the dentist has given me some really strong antibiotics.  I had one tooth pulled two days ago and the pain medication he gave me is really powerful and affects sleep - sleep like a log.  An earth quake couldn't awaken me.  The residual effects are twitchy hands.  Instead of clicking the computer mouse once, the finger hits it three times.  The rest of the teeth are coming out in a week or two.  I've never been in a hospital in my life or ever had an operation so I'm a bit concerned about this whole thing.

So, there I was awake early this morning and nothing to do until I took the state boat to the lake for the afternoon.  I thought about a pair of eagles at point 18 on the lake and I wondered if they would be on the nest at daybreak.  I hitched my boat to my truck and took off for the lake. (The shot above is not from today & is only an example of this morning).  I got to Dandridge five miles down the road and they are having an Irish/Scotch celebration day and all the streets were closed off.  Scotch and Irish together - now, there's an interesting mix.  They ought to read history to see the relationship between those two nationalities back in the 13th century.  Anyway, I turned around and hit the interstate.  The world was on four wheels it seemed.  I also found out I was only half awake as I almost pulled back into the right lane into some kind of tiny, toy car that was blasting past me on the wrong side of the road.  I made it to the lake and I had it to myself.  I set the throttle for 20 mph and enjoyed the ride to the eagles nest.  They were there.  I just wanted to see them.  There is no photographic excellence involved with the shots.  I just wanted to see if they were still paired up.  They were and will remain so until their young fledge in the spring.  They have been nervous the past two times I visited their tree and they flew away quickly.  Today, I stayed far back from the shoreline.  They still were jumpy and would fly away shortly after my approach.
They were perched above the nest in their enormous, old tree.  There was hardly enough light to make a photograph.  I almost didn't take any.  But, I was there so gave it a try.  This tree is not back-lit so  when their babies are born I will be able to photograph them in the nest perfectly.  I can hardly wait.  These shots are taken at extreme distances and I am amazed they even came out at all.
The eagle with his back against the tree had his eyes locked on me and was getting nervous. He was going to fly.  I think they try to avoid being associated with the location of their nest.  That is probably why I never see them in the nest.  They are always above it or in the tree next to it.  The eagle against the tree appeared to simply fall to his left and extend his wings.  How cool!
 These birds are magnificent and I am constantly amazed at their grace and dignity.  They display character and elegance in all they do.  I tried to follow the eagle who leaped off the limb and lost track of the second one.
Below:  Nature's son silently soars through the very limited early morning light that is beginning to filter through the tree tops as he makes his way through the foliage to the open sky.
I returned to the truck and left.  The whole trip lasted only an hour and a half.  The girls were waiting at the door and acted as if they hadn't seen me for days.  Sweet dogs!

Rain was falling when I left with the state boat.  I like rain when I'm on this boat.  I like to hear it pelting off the roof.  It reminds me of being in a tent.  I can keep quite dry unless the wind is blowing the rain from the side.  When that happens it's rain suite time.  There were fishing boats in my area for a change.  There weren't a lot of them but a nice smattering of them.  One here and two there.  They were separated nicely.  I met a couple guys who were retired game wardens from Mississippi, I think they said.  "Guys, if I got the state wrong - I apologize."   Of course, a lengthy conversation resulted.  I've met some great folks recently on the water.
Vultures were flying over an area of shoreline just ahead.  One particular vulture was circling down slowly and the temptation to photograph him was irresistible.  He was the largest turkey vulture I think I've ever seen.  Handsome bugger he was.
   He knew exactly where he was going.  He landed right near a dead fish that had washed up on the bank.

Well, he's doing what vultures do.  Vultures play one of the most important duties in nature.  If it weren't for vultures, the shorelines and forests would be littered with rotting caucuses.  Diseases would run rampant infecting creatures large and small.  They are an essential player in natures survival game.



 Funny thing - I've never seen a dead vulture.  I guess they take care of their own.

I went home to listen to some classical music and all I could get was sports.  Sports or church stuff.  Oh ya, Dr. Pinkus and his miracle vitamin potions.  The radio stations in East Tennessee are sadly lacking in informative material.  I'm really sick of listening to, "Hickelvich goes out for a pass, blasted into the end zone, NFL this or that,  Harkem goes into the Hall of Fame, bad call, touchdown.  Then there is the after game rundown by the professional commentators who know why the team lost or won and what should have been done or what was done wrong.  Every station I can get on the radio is carrying some ball game.   Come to church and be saved is another one that is getting a lot of air.  Baptist this or that,  walk in the light, ask for forgiveness and give to thy neighbor are popular today.  Dave Ramsey seems to be the savior to all those who don't have any money with his 5 point plan that he sells in his schools on financial freedom."  I ended up listening to the state of Tennessee highway frequency.  I found out that interstate 81 will have a slow down due to road work at the White Pine exit on Monday.  I need to go on a hike and would be doing just that if I lived in Greenback.  But, I'll just sit here on the porch and watch the new neighbors flounder about in the yard of the house they just bought down the road.  The bird feeders are empty so I have to fill them.  Yep - a relaxing, enlightening evening.  One thing for sure - I ain't a domestic person.