Saturday, November 10, 2012

BEECH CREEK & DOUGLAS LAKE ALL IN THE SAME DAY



Tough shots above.  The sun was just coming up and I used the 500 mm lens.  Made a camera adjustment and accidently pushed the "white balance" button and ended up with washed out, white, ruined pictures.  I was able to make them view-able though.

This was going to be a full day on the water.  The morning would be spent at Beech Creek and the afternoon looking for bald eagles on Douglas Lake.  I got to Beech Creek shortly after sun up.  The weather was supposed to be 70 degrees so I messed up and dressed for 70 degrees.  I should know by now to bring warm clothes.  Tennis shoes weren't going to get it but, that's all I had on.  As long as I keep my feet dry I'd be alright.  The water was perfect and smooth.  Beech Creek is just gorgeous - period!
This is the creek to use to make post cards.  I wonder how many other little creeks are around here that I'm missing out on by constantly visiting this one.  There has to be more.  Charming is the proper word to describe this beautiful little waterway.

I paddled up Beech Creek for about a half mile only.  I needed to get down to the Holston and find those eagles and mark the new nest with GPS coordinates.  I wanted to be heading for the Gheenoe and Douglas Lake by 1 PM.  I don't usually follow schedules and I don't look at this as a schedule.  It's just a time frame that will allow me to achieve both goals, and deliver the maximum fun.
















Just look at those shots above! 

What a way to start a morning!  The water was socked in with fog when I got here and I waited in the truck for awhile until the sun started to do it's work.

I saw those swamp sparrows that I saw last visit and stopped to photograph them.




















A fly catcher appeared out of nowhere.  He was a bit of a challenge as he wouldn't keep still.



I picked up the paddle cadence a bit to make some time.  This kevlar boat really flies.  I got to the confluence of the French Broad River and decided to shoot straight across and beach the canoe on the far shore and see if I could get some "small" bird pictures.





I climbed onto shore and sat down against a tree and just enjoyed the morning.  Of course, I snapped a couple birds while I felt the warm sun on my face.







A little rufus colored bird landed between two trees and I didn't think I could focus on it properly.  The image came out but the edges of the trees I shot through are catching the side edges of the lens.  He is not in my bird book.  It appears like a rusty colored sparrow.  I'll research him.
I saddled up and headed to the eagle section of the river.  I just knew they would be there.  What'd I tell ya?  Look below:




Something is wrong here.  The new nest they were building is gone.  So is the tree they were building it in.  The wind has taken their work.  I'll mark this spot with the GPS, not that I need the GPS coordinates but, someone else may need them
They both are holding their wings out and down.  I believe they are absorbing heat from the sun.  


Look how incredibly fierce and domineering he looks - above.  That is one kick Butt eagle!
I'll leave these gorgeous birds and slide back up stream.  I like to paddle the shorelines because most river action occurs there.



No trip to Beech Creek would be complete without a squirrel picture or two.
This place is indeed magic.
video
I got everything loaded into the truck and made for home to pick up the Gheenoe.  What a day this is turning out to be.
video
I ran down the shoreline to where I saw C 2 a couple days ago.  No eagles.  As a matter of fact I didn't see any eagles at all.  I crossed the river and during that crossing the prop touched bottom mud.  The depth in the middle of the river is only one foot deep.  I had to feel my way across the water.  This is really nuts!  TVA is drawing the water level down hard and fast.  I ran all the way to Swanns Marina which is about 7 miles downstream from my put-in, crossed the lake and came back the other side.  Binoculars were in hand the whole time.  No eagles.  When I got back to Walter's Bridge boat ramp I decided to keep going to Leadvale upstream.  That's eagle country up there.  I couldn't cross the river in the usual place due to the depth being shallow.  Finally I was cruising along the heavily forested shoreline with huge trees where eagles live.  There were none.  Two days ago I counted 8 bald eagles in a couple miles.    Today - none.  Then I saw a white pin point in a tree far, far down a cove.  I couldn't cross the river.  I took a ridiculously long photo of this eagle.  It is below.  They do stand out on a mountain side:
It was time to leave.  I was cold and had no more clothes with me.  Today was a wonderful experience.  I didn't find C 2 but I had a lot of boating fun, got some great pictures and got to spend a great morning at my favorite creek in the area.  Thanks for going along.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Stay tuned in.  More stuff coming, as always.  gll