Wednesday, October 3, 2012


The wildlife blind was on my porch yesterday when I came home from work.  It's a nifty little tent like structure.  I believe I went over it in the preceding post so won't re-hash old business.  Here's a picture of it to refresh your memory.
I tossed the contraption in the truck with all the other secret viewing stuff and was off in a flash.  I was soon on the water going upstream toward the Rankin flood plain.  I would give this gizmo a try but, the coyotes weren't the only reason I was up here.  This is bald eagle country and they have been active lately for some reason.  I would just photograph things as they made themselves available.  The French Broad River was really ripping!  I pulled alongside the flood plain and couldn't find a place to beach the boat where the current wouldn't pull it off shore.  I remembered a sort of ditch that cut inland and I headed for that narrow corridor  .  
The engine was raised out of the water and the electric motor was lowered.  I would run this water until there was no more. 
The water disappeared quickly.  I turned the boat cross-ways in the narrow little channel to anchor it.  No one could see it parked back here in this ditch and there sure wasn't any way current was going to steal her away from me.
I climbed over the edge of the bank and saw four deer tails standing tall.  This area is like a zoo.  I knew exactly where I was going and would be there in about twenty minutes.  I won't go into the blind set up or any of the issues about it.  I will say that a chair of some sort is mandatory.  I spent two hours in that enclosure on my knees, one knee, the other knee, both knees and my rear end on the cold ground before I called it quits.  I had a tennis ball that  made squeaking sounds as a decoy for coyotes.  Nothing doing.  I think I was there too late in the morning and too early for the afternoon wanderings of the dog like beasts.  My legs couldn't take it anymore and I packed it in.  Deer ran everywhere during my walk back to the boat.  I'll be back.  Where have I heard that line before?
Above:  About fifty single strands of spider webbing floated through the air just outside the blind and each one had a baby spider attached to the end of it.  Charlotte's Web.
 I think this is Charlotte below:
This was a good shake down for the blind.  I learned how to take it down easy.  It's spring loaded and all that is required to erect it is to toss it on the ground.  The think just springs up into shape ready to go.  Getting it back into its collapsed state is another story I won't go into here.  I thought of the chair last night and it was already in the truck.  I guess I was in a hurry this morning and overlooked it when I loaded the boat at the dock for launch.
I used a pole to push the boat down the ditch to a point I could turn it and used the electric motor to pull on out into open water.  The ride back down stream was uneventful until I got past the Leadvale Ramp.  I saw some strange birds I have never seen before.  I believe they are American Pelicans.  They were a first for me.  As far as I know - they aren't supposed to be here.  There were only three of them.

I believe these birds do hang out on the Mississippi River system and also at Land Between the Lakes.  I've never heard of them this far east.  But, what do I know?  I'm sure someone will read this and enlighten me about American Pelicans.

They are very beautiful in flight and they are very fast too.  I was ready with the camera in hand and I missed their launch into the air.  Look at those powerful wings.

How can anything that big fly so fast?  They look aerodynamic as a brick.

Aren't they impressive?  I have to check on the habits of these guys and see why they are over this far east.
I noticed a deer on the shoreline at the edge of the forest.  I would pass the spot on my way down stream so I may as well put the sneak on em.
I cut the engine and let the current gently pull the boat along.  The water was moving slow down here on the main lake below Leadvale.

They were looking into the woods.  I've seen this before.  An adult buck usually appears when they do that.  I would be past them quickly and if I turned the engine on to maneuver, they would bolt.  No sense in disturbing them.  They look very peaceful.  I'll just drift on by.

 The boat was almost past them.  I fired up the engine and followed the shoreline downstream.

 Spotted Sandpipers bobbed along the water.  Its neat how animals are tolerant of this boat.  The color green is familiar and the engine is quiet.  Sandpipers are not that easy to photograph but, these were pushovers.

This is bald eagle country.  This is my favorite area on the main lake.  I was not to be disappointed.  There, in a tall tree, back-lit by a bright sky sat an eagle.  I could not see any color at all due to the bright sky.  The boat would soon pass in front of the tree where I could get a good look at him.  It was a juvenile and he was a new guy on the block.  I had not seen this eagle previous to now.  He carried almost all dark brown plumage with minimal white markings indicating he was a youngster of about a year or a year and a half old.  There are too many eagles in this range of shoreline.  I bet a war will break out during breeding season.  Bald eagles are not tolerant of intruders in their areas.  A bald eagle requires approximately three miles of territory to call his.  A mated pair is fine but no other visitors are permitted.  Should be interesting around here in the Spring.


The above shot is from the rear of the eagle.  You can see his feet tucked in.  He's flying away from you.  His outline got lost in the business of the picture.
That winds today down.  These days are adventures to me as I learn and see so much about wildlife.  The grass is getting tall but the boat is still hitched to the truck.  Lets wee - mow grass or explore in the boat.  Hum!  We'll see how that works out tomorrow.  See ya.
As an added note - I was able to fix the computer issues and am back on msn.  So anyone who wishes to email me can do so at  the msn email address.  Gmail will still work too but, comment notification comes to the msn address only.  Thanks.