Sunday, September 2, 2012


Fragile and lifeless but, beautiful even in death.

I couldn't get a definitive weather forecast last night or this morning, only the usual "possibility of storms and an over cast day but, a 40% possibility of storms tonight.  Tomorrow threat of storms possibly late afternoon and overcast morning and afternoon."  What a weather forecast!  I woke up and hitched the Gheenoe to the truck and was off to Beech Creek.

The weather sure looked good so far.  I quickly became upset with myself as I discovered that I forgot to bring my binoculars along.  That meant I couldn't inspect the opposite shoreline for critters.  I have grown to rely on those things.  They allow me to see critters and allow time to prepare the camera in advance.  
I stopped the boat when I arrived at the mouth of Beech Creek where it enters the French Broad River.  The motor was raised and the electric motor on the bow was lowered.  I wanted to slowly and silently glide along the shoreline in hopes of running onto a beaver or an otter.  I never showed you the photography area on the Gheenoe.

That funny looking white thing on the point is the electric motor or trolling motor.  I can raise and lower it at will.  The thing runs absolutely silently off a battery.  There is a control arm that extends back to my fancy chair.  I can adjust direction with it.  The chair will be upgraded to a Kermit Chair shortly as I need back support and the Kermit is the best on the market.  Its a camp chair.  The whole affair is quite comfortable.

I've got to say right here that this section of the French Broad is the most beautiful river I've been on ever.   The colors are vivid and there is a definite lack of human presence.  The lack of humans is the largest influence on the tranquility that exists here.  Where humans go in the wilds - chaos reigns and idiocy runs rampant and nature takes the brunt of their tomfoolery.
So, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it - did it make a sound when it fell?  Of course it did.  Common knowledge tells us it makes a sound but, can it be verified?   The same analogy can be assigned to the presence of flowers in the wild.  Are they beautiful if no one is present to view them?  They could exist but they don't necessarily have to be beautiful.  So, how can the exact quality of beauty be discerned?  It is common knowledge that wild flowers are always beautiful so we have to assume they are beautiful.  I see all this beauty around me but am I really here to view it?  How do you know I'm here if no one else is here to verify I am here?  I'm alone too much....
My old, tired yet highly skilled eyes caught a piece of brown fluff dangling under a tree limb.  At last a critter!
By the way if anyone is curious or cares - the squirrel sequences were shot using center weighted metering on the camera.  This little guy was buried in shadows and the center weighted adjustment worked perfectly on him.  Average metering would have reproduced him as very, very dark.

Tiny little paws like hands and miniature fingers held the seeds while he chewed them open to get to the fruit.  The hulls were discarded and they fell like dust.

He still has no idea I am there at this point.  It would be very difficult to approach an animal like this while on land.  Most folks use a blind or simply "luck" on to a critter accidentally.  An electric powered boat or canoe/kayak can't be beat.  They are silent - if the occupants keep quiet.  I was drifting directly under him and I didn't want that.  The area of photo possibilities is diminished when under or extremely close to a subject.  I'd rather be twenty five feet further away from him but the water current wasn't cooperating.  Just have to make the best of it.  This fellow was not giving me much to work with though.

  Oh, he sees me.  He's more interested in filling his tummy with seeds than worrying about me.  As long as he's up there in his tree - he is in his safety zone.

I'll leave him now.  He has been most hospitable toward me.  
Two birds flushed from the shoreline as the Gheenoe silently moved along.  The belted kingfisher left a limb to my front and a particularly colorful great blue heron to my right.  Click, click and they both are in the camera.  Lucky shots.

 Only one word describes this beautiful water world.    SPECTACULAR!

There is a definite lack of birds on the river today.  Even the double crested cormorant is missing. Not a duck can be found and there are normally many teal and mallards about.  I believe that animals can predict bad weather and take appropriated action to seek cover and safety.   

The ancient ones, however, were out in force.  They lay peacefully on logs absorbing the sun or, what sun there was.  A very gentle rain began to fall dissipating the humidity and cooling down the breezes.  I moved under a tree with heavy foliage.  The rain never penetrated the thick leaf cover. The rain stopped almost as soon as it started.  Delightful!
Above:  A pair of crows fly off in close proximity to each other.  I like the uniqueness of the shot.
A group of crows join in to assault a red tail hawk perched somewhere in the trees below them.  I can hear him shrieking loudly.

A couple of colorful chaps appear to be posing for their picture.  Turtles are no push overs for a camera.  They have extremely short tolerance levels to intrusion.  If it weren't for the electric motor I would not be able to get these pictures.  Gotta love turtles.
The sky is getting dark and it surely will storm here.  I will make my way back to Beech Creek and the truck.

 Oh No!  There he is again. The green heron.
That's it for this trip.  I couldn't find any beaver or otter but I'll get em.  Early morning or late afternoon are optimum times to see them.  Its difficult for me to be here at either of those time frames.  I'll try.  Have a good evening.