Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I have moved my photography operations underwater.  I've invented a underwater suit that allows the camera to remain encapsulated within the transparent, plastic material.  I'm being absorbed into the natural environment.  In a year or two I'll disappear completely from sight and become one of ------them -  out there.
Now, surely you don't believe all that talk.  It is a real fish and I did indeed photograph it today.  This is a long nose gar, indigenous to the waters of Tennessee.  I've seen them over six feet long.  They usually move and hunt in packs and are an impressive member of nature.

 Today was a strange day for me.  It was to be a day off but I worked on the truck bed tool box practically all morning.  I couldn't find a key to fit the lock and ended up buying a lock that almost fit but didn't.  I redesigned it a bit and the box and lock work perfectly.  The second part of the morning was spent hunting a place that sold light weight PFDs  (life vests)  suitable for canoes.  So, I replaced most of the items that were stolen from my truck the other day.   After all that was done the time was 2:30 PM.  The day was almost shot.  I hitched up the Gheenoe and was off for the Rankin area on Douglas lake.
The soft light of late afternoon was appearing a bit early in the day and was beautiful  Soft light accentuated the colors of early fall.  Its really pretty here on the upper end of Douglas but, Chilhowee and Calderwood Lakes set the standard for fall colors in East Tennessee.

The shore birds were almost gone.  A few great egrets were about all there is left along the shore.  Geese, green herons and sandpipers are the common birds of the day.  A large number of black vultures were cleaning the shoreline to my left and a familiar sound grew louder and louder.  I got a little chill when I saw them.   Nothing represents the wilderness experience better than a flight of calling geese.  Whether its Canada, Yellowstone Park or the lakes of Tennessee -- they are symbols of an extinct wilderness.

Their flight appears choreographed as they blast past me.

 These particular geese are very, very wild with no tolerance for approach.  The lower lake geese are used to boats and will not fly as easily or quickly.

This is turning out to be a very casual, slow, quiet wildlife afternoon.  I'm not really motivated to rush along to see this or that.  The boat is set to ten miles per hour and I'm kicked back peering through the binoculars for most of the ride.  I wanted to beach the boat and walk a little while.  I put her on the shore at the flood plain and took off on foot.  

I hate to admit that there is anyplace on Douglas Lake that is gorgeous.  Well, this isn't really the lake proper but, the upper rivers are considered Douglas Lake.  I have to say that this flood plain is spectacular.  The fall season throws a strong splash of colorful tint to the brown and green colors.  Another unique factor about this plain is that one can see forever.

The terrain here is suited for a comfortable chair, binoculars, a bird field guide, camera and a bottle of red wine.  

This place reminds me of the Savannah in Africa.  There isn't anything can move out there without me seeing it through my binoculars.  This is going to be an interesting destination this winter.
I seemed to be picking up a chill somehow and thought it prudent to head back to the boat.   My jaw and upper teeth, oops - where my upper teeth used to reside are starting to ache.  I didn't bring pain pills with me.  The need for them surely will end soon - I hope.   
Above:  That little animal blind will work perfectly set up at the edge of those trees.  The view is forever.  

I notice some turkeys on the left shoreline as I cruised back toward Walters Bridge and the boat ramp.  This water is extremely shallow and even the Gheenoe can not get close to the far shore.  These birds are right down at the water line.  I've never seen turkeys cast caution to the wind and linger in the open so long.  It proves that humans haven't been able to intrude on their spaces.

One last shot follows.  I'm speeding back to the truck as I need to get home for a pill.  My mouth is aching.  wonder how long this mess will last.  I have a surprise lake for you in the near future.  I've never been there so we can explore it together.  I'm told there are many, many beaver, otter and eagles there.  I can't wait.  A canoe paddle on Indian Boundary Lake is coming up also.  The last picture on this entry is of a train coal tower that has long ago been delegated to the memory of history.  Until next time - thank you for your readership.

Ok - the posy is last.