Friday, September 14, 2012

NO PRESSURE - NO STRESS - JUST A GREAT DAY!

The dock was out of commission when I got to Walters Bridge so I launched the boat and pulled it up to the shoreline beside the boat ramp.  The water is really getting low.








A flock of pigeons were taking a morning bath as I pulled away from the boat ramp.  I noticed bryozoans attached to the bridge supports.  They are left high and dry as the water continues to recede .  To find out more go here:  tnfish.org  or Wickapedia.  I usually see them attached to tree limbs submerged.     


I was working in my favorite part of the lake/river today.  This is where most of the wildlife is located and also where most of the fishermen would be.  The anglers were out in good numbers today and I interviewed many.  Its about time.  I was beginning to think everyone gave up fishing.  I enjoyed talking to all of them, especially the old timers in the little, old aluminum jon boats.  They've lived and fished here for 30 years and more.  They have stories I love to hear and they have common sense.  I like that.  I cruised up the right shoreline and cut across the river to the other side.  The water gets very shallow on the side I was on and there would be no anglers up there.  There is also an eagle who resides on the opposite side of the lake and I just know I'll find him - and I did.

I've got all the eagles pin pointed on this lake and don't even need the GPS to help me find them.  The challenge is overcoming the difficult light situations that exist in the morning and evenings.


I hope I can access this area of the river when the water is drawn as I want to observe the pairing and mating of these eagles.  There is one nest that I could actually photograph the young.  Its been a long time since I've photographed baby bald eagles. I think I can get the Gheenoe to the nest in mind.
I came upon an old codger sound asleep in his little boat, feet up on the gunnels and broad hat pulled down over his face.  I slipped the big state boat up to within a foot of his boat and he never moved.  I actually didn't know what to do.  I didn't want to wake him but, I was there and wanted to see if he caught anything.  I had to make a racket if I started the engine and that would surely wake him.  I had no choice.  I kept my mouth shut and just turned the ignition key and the engine came to life.  He never moved a muscle.  I kicked  it into gear and backed away.  Amazing!  Old men in tiny boats - something to behold.
I arrived at the top of my assigned area for the day and needed to cross back over to the other side of the river and return downstream.  It would be impossible to cross where I was because the river is only 2.5 feet deep in the center.  Perhaps I could back track and cross a few hundred yards back the way I came.  I glassed the opposite shoreline and discovered a flock of wild turkeys moving very slowly down the sandy beach.  I killed the engine and lowered the electric motor.  I would attempt to cross the river at this point.  The turkeys were very far away and a challenge to photograph even with the 500 mm lens.


These turkeys were "very" wild and observant too.  They saw me coming even at this great distance.  I guess the big white boat was something odd in their area.  They slowly angled up the sandy bank toward the woods.  



They soon disbursed into the forest and disappeared.  As the water level drops - the further away from shore I will have to stay and the more distant the camera shots will be.  Its just another challenge.  No big deal.
I no sooner got done photographing the turkeys when a ring billed gull started cruisning near the boat.  I just got back into deep enough water to use the motor and was moving down stream along the left shoreline.  Well, why not photograph him?  He's available.


The can sure move fast!




Notice the black circle on the bird's beak.  That gives him the name ring billed gull.  There is another gull that frequents this and Cherokee lake known as the bonaparte gull.  The black ring is absent on the bonaparte's beak.
I took shots at odd birds as the boat moved along.


The day went smoothly.  I talked to 14 fishermen this morning and had lots of great discussions.  Old fishermen are in it strictly for fun.  If they catch fish they are happy.  If they don't catch fish - they are happy.  They are in it for all the right reasons.  Its about the peace that can be found out here on a lake and its the ability to leave the backpack full of responsibility back on the shore for a little while and just be totally happy.

I'll be taking the motorcycle out tomorrow for a ride with a close friend.  Sunday will find me back on Beech Creek in the canoe.  I'm going with the canoe for the paddling experience.  The camera will be along but will not be the focus (no pun) of the trip.  I want to paddle that thing until I can't lift the paddle anymore.  I appreciate you all for looking in.  I will, however, get pictures of otters on Beech Creek if I run across them.  See ya later.