Sunday, November 4, 2012


Even the parking lot is picturesque.  It's located far out in the country on a very narrow road.  Love this place!

This Beech Creek is prime canoe water. After arriving here this morning I wished I had brought the canoe. The water is fantastic.
The shot above is of Beech Creek heading down stream toward the Holston River.  Note that the water grasses are browning and dying back toward the shoreline.  There is a small breeze blowing that is rippling the water a bit.  It came and went all day.  The wind today would be of no concern for canoeing.
The Fall colors are almost gone now - that is, the bright florescent colors are almost gone.  However, they have been replaced with a beautiful rust color combined with a green tint.  The entire surroundings are gorgeous.  This little stream is worthy of  being in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park - its that sweet.

If I was Mitt Romney I'd buy this stream and have it moved over to the park.  I was here for one reason only and that was to find otters.  I searched the entire morning up and down both river banks.  I used the binoculars to peer into huge holes in the cliffs at the waterline and focused much attention to old dead falls laying in the water but could not find even one otter.  They definitely are here.  I'm just looking for them at the wrong time of day.  I'll probably be gone when they come out of their dens in late afternoon.
A flock of teal ducks rocketed from cover at the shoreline and flew downstream.  They are very touchy.  They saw me coming from a great distance and evacuated.  The primary birds left on the river since the migration process began are blue and green winged teal, mallards, coots, grebes and great blue herons.  Most all of the wading birds have flown to winter havens else ware.

Even the mallards are jumpy and will not tolerate my intrusion into their space.  They are the most common duck on the water up here.  That's fine because they are colorful and gorgeous in flight.  I haven't seen even one wood duck today.  Wood ducks are a bit mysterious in their winter activities an I haven't figured them totally out yet.  Wood Ducks are my favorite duck.

Big Creek was just across the water and I thought I might slip over there to see if a beaver was out.  The shot below was taken at the mouth of Big Creek where it meets the Holston River.  Fabulous canoe water!
That is water usually found in a canoeist's dreams.  It flows back into the hills for about a mile and a half and ends where a little stream tumbles down into the main creek.  Its a very pretty paddle.  There are two beaver lodges on the right side of this creek.
Oh, they're in there alright.  Notice how the water grasses are absent where an open waterway leads directly to the lodge.

There is a second lodge directly up stream from this one.  It doesn't appear to be used though.  Wonder why.  Maybe there is a main entrance on the opposite side of it.
Doesn't this turtle, excuse me, turtles know that winter's here and they need to get in the mud?  I guess they know more about it than I do.  They're probably soaking up the last rays of warm sun before burrowing into the soil.

I came out of Beech Creek and headed down stream to see if the bald eagles were about.  I couldn't see them immediately but, soon observed a soaring bald eagle very, very high in the sky carrying a huge stick.  I watched him through binoculars and didn't take a picture as it would have been an effort in futility due to the distance.  He flew over the tall mountain wall next to the lake and disappeared.  I turned the boat back up stream and he returned over the mountain top and plunged into some enormous trees at the top of the mountain.  I struggled to find where he was building his nest.  Then I saw him standing on a limb buried deep inside the foliage of a very huge tree.  The view lasted only five seconds as the boat moved past the open window that permitted my view of him.  He has selected a good out of view spot for his nest.  I'll be able to observe him when the leaves come off all the trees.  It's too far a shot to get any good pictures though.  Good for him.  He'll stay safe way up there.

Still no otters.  I decided to move across the river and beach the boat.  I'd find a log to sit on and watch the river for movement.  I sat down and decided to call a friend in Pennsylvania whom I haven't talked to in a while.. He no sooner answered when large populations of birds of various flavor settled in around me.  There were birds no larger than an inch and a half all over the pace.  Tiny rust colored birds were dodging into tiny crevasses on stumps and logs, flitting here and there.  I wanted so badly to take some shots.  These birds were on top me and this 500 mm lens would make some impressive shots.  I told my friend to give me a second while I photograph a downy woodpecker.

I hurried to end the call and when I closed the phone, and almost dropped it in the water, the birds disappeared.  Gone!  Amazing!  I understand what happened.  They were moving through the woods in flocks foraging and constantly moving.  They grabbed what food was available and moved on.  Interesting.  I think I will apply myself to photographing small birds this winter.  That should prove to be exciting and entertaining.  I should be able to get super pictures using my new bird blind.  Can't wait.  I lost my patience waiting for otters and gathered up the gear and started for the boat.  I no sooner got to the boat when a beaver smacked the water with his tail right behind the boat motor.  No luck!  I became careless and moved without caution.  When will I learn?

The rest of the day was non eventful and the trip back to the truck was beautiful.  I feel a canoe trip coming up here fairly soon.  Until then - thank you for your readership.