Friday, October 12, 2012


I agonized over where to take the Gheenoe today.  Beech Creek would be gorgeous but the Rankin area would hold more opportunity to photograph deer, coyotes or maybe an eagle.  The issue lasted all last night until I was ready to go out the door this morning.  I checked my reservoir work schedule and I was scheduled to be at Rankin on Monday.  I would go to Beech Creek today.

The cat tails have gone to seed and many leaves are changing on the trees along the shoreline.  The combination of the two makes a picturesque scene.  The wading birds are all but gone now - off to the places that nature has commanded them for eons, their mental migration wiring unchangeable.  
A pair of mallards offer themselves for the traditional ducks in flight picture that has always suggested the "in the wild experience" for as long as outdoor magazines have been published.

 A female mallard takes off from the tall grass.
Her mate followed directly behind her and together they flew down the shoreline.

An american coot rested by an old snag enjoying the morning sun.  He will stay all winter.

I have this entire waterway to myself today.  There isn't another human being here.  I'm really happy I decided to come up here.  Its quite a drive but the peace of mind from being on this beautiful water is worth it.
I used the electric motor to cruise up the shoreline searching for otters.  Instead I ran into my old friend.

This little squirrel is always in the same place at the same time every visit I make here.  If he'd turn up missing - I'd worry over him.
Of course, what would it be to come here and "not" see a bald eagle?  I can't imagine.

He was far off - a long shot even for this 500 mm lens but, he posed for me and I wasn't going to lose the opportunity.  He appeared to be very comfortable on his perch and felt secure in the great distance I was from him.

I heard today that the Native Americans, by a new law, are now allowed to kill bald eagles for their feathers.  I think this is repulsive and stupid.  I've said it before - its time  Indians and Eskimos stop living in the 15th century and join the rest of the country who live in modern times.  The argument that "its our heritage" doesn't apply.  It really doesn't.  Eskimos kill endangered whales and Indians now have a free hand to kill eagles.  All this just to pluck a few feathers from the carcass to put in a war bonnet and dance around a fire someplace.  Probably toss the body on the fire to eliminate it.  And, no I'm not condemning anyone's religion.  South American Indians decapitated and shrank the heads of captured enemies.  Their heritage.  And the whites used to keep black slaves.  Hell - it was our heritage.   Think what heritage means and is.  Its not just turkey at Thanksgiving.  But, we don't do those distasteful things these days.  Its unpopular.  Its not ethical. The bald eagle is our nations symbol.  Its stood for bravery, justice and the American way of life since Ben Franklin.  Tell ya what;  if the Indians can kill bald eagles and I can't then I'd say that's discrimination.  They are American citizens and so am I.  Why do they get the privilege.   If I'm caught with even one bald eagle feather in my possession I get a $10,000 fine and three years in jail.  The Indian receives the blessing of congress to kill them.  I ought to make a political issue about this.  I might just do that.
Look at this beautiful, dynamic raptor.  Can you imagine it being held upside down, blood dripping out its mouth, eyes closed while some Indian rain dancer pulls its feathers out?   In another century it was difficult to capture eagles.  Snares were used in the nest.  Tall trees had to be climbed to set the snares and even then failure usually was the result.  Today - a rifle and a scope guarantees the kill.  This is sickening to even think about.
Take a good look at him.  Imagine his blood on the white plumage of his neck as the great eagle topples off the limb to fall hundreds of feet to the ground for the sake of a rain dance head dress.  Why does it have to be bald eagle feathers?  Why not artificial feathers?  It is the same as using blank bullets in a Civil War re-enactment instead of live bullets.

Such a waste of life!  I'd think the Indian spirits would be angry!  I'd at least think the spirits would be disappointed that the American Indian has not evolved into this century in both common sense as well as respect for the natural world that he says he comes from.  Indians don't own the eagles.  Nature does and, they're mine too.
There - now I'm upset.  Gotta move on.

This water is truly beautiful.  The signs of fall are surrounding the water.  I wonder who used to sit on this bench years ago and watch the eagles soar up and down the lake and watch the otters play.  Was it a young couple newly married or were the occupants life long companions approaching their final goodbye?  They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste.  I keep mine active in thought, as you can see.
Last but not least are the turtles.  They seem to be gathering in great numbers to say goodbye to their friends and relations before they sink themselves deep into the mud to spend the winter in safe quarters.  There are a lot of them sunning themselves on this mildly chilly day.

The day was wonderful.  I didn't run the boat over idle speed at all.  The next trip here will be with the canoe for sure.  I miss canoeing and its time I fix that situation.  The signs of fall are everywhere and it won't be long before the colors are vibrant and brilliant.  How I miss the Cherokee Forest with its tremendous fall foliage.  There's nothing to be done about it.  Gasoline is too expensive for me to travel far and the politicians don't seem to care.  I'll make do over here somehow - somehow.  I have my girls. Thanks for looking in.