Monday, November 5, 2012

FOG, EAGLES AND A GREAT MORNING ON THE LAKE

This was a great day!  There's no other way to describe it.  I was up at 3:30 AM, had coffee and just had to get to the lake.  Left the house at 5:30 AM.  The truck needed gas and that would take time.  Hopefully the sun would be coming up by the time I got to the boat ramp.  The fog became very thick as I neared the Walter's Bridge boat ramp.  My road speed was ten miles per hour as I couldn't see past the hood of the truck.  Wow, where'd this come from all of a sudden.  I pulled into the parking lot and couldn't see across it.  It felt good, and safe, to finally park the rig and just kick back in the seat and listen to the radio.  The fog was still heavy two hours later.  This is nuts, I thought to myself.  I loaded the boat with all the things I use out there and prepared it to launch.  I gave things another half hour.  No change.  I hit the water.
The old bridge looked mysterious in the fog.  I could deal with this.  I headed to the far shoreline where I needed to follow it downstream. 
The fog thickened as I moved down the lake.  I couldn't see anything or judge direction or distance.  This is where the good ole lake GPS comes into play.  Oh ya - we're modern here.
The GPS unit contains and displays a map of whatever lake I'm on.  As you can see above - Walters Bridge is directly behind me.  The boat ramp is to the left of the route 25 marker.  The pointer is my boat.  The dark blue lines are called contour lines and indicate the depths as indicated.  



In the illustration above, the boat is moving down the right shoreline in about 35 feet of water.  The catch here is that the 35 feet of water is an indication of depth when the lake is at full pool (full of water.)  The lake is being drawn down and that water is now about ten feet deep.  Gotta be careful.
The two jerks in the boat above never saw me.  They have no lights on their boat and were running very fast.  Idiots!  They have no idea whats floating on the water.  These dorks are are a menace to everyone on the lake.
You'll notice above that I'm crossing the lake and heading toward a cove I call Heron Cove.  All this maneuvering is blind.  I can't see past the bow of the boat.  The main problems navigating like this are floating objects and stationary boats on the water without their lights on, and the variation of water depth from the indicated full pool data.
Once in a while I could see momentarily.  Then, as fast as things appear, they disappeared in a wall of white.  But, eventually the surroundings slowly came into view.  
They reminded me of ship wrecked sailors waiting patiently for rescue.  The only thing about these sailors is that they can fly.  I don't know how they can see through this murk but, they seem to do alright.


I was getting tired of driving through the fog.  It makes me tense.  I've driven through lake fog for hours on end in the past.  It's not fun but it's interesting.  The shoreline appears surreal as it slowly comes into view through the fog.  
The fog was slowly lifting the further down the lake I went..


Whoa!  Where'd that come from?  I gotta watch that GPS screen more closely.  Whew!
The fog was lifting nicely.  I was starting to make out birds, lake features and floating logs.  I love this!
The need for food is constant with wildlife.  The gulls are on and above the water relentlessly looking for sustenance in all weather types.  They swim, dive and fly without any concern for the weather.


I saw four large birds flying into a cove.  Their wing beats and body shapes indicated they were eagles.  As they turned and flew along the shoreline I could see they were immature bald eagles.  Four of them together!  That's amazing!  I've not seen this many immature's in one place previous to this sighting.  I couldn't get them all in the lens at the same time.  They split and went different directions as the boat approached them.  I shot them as best I could.



The shots are long and far but the colors on the birds definitely prove them to be immature bald eagles.  One young eagle landed in some tall trees.  I coasted down the shoreline and he waited for me.  He is a spectacular bird.  He will someday, as an adult,  join his peers to be a member of the elite group of kings who rule the sky's of Tennessee.







The shots are all similar.   Anytime I have a chance to photograph an eagle - I take it, similar photos or not.  He is a handsome fellow.

  And, he was gone in a heartbeat.  Good luck to him.

That whole episode was pure luck.  One minute I'm trying to find my way through the fog and the next I'm photographing eagles.
I really didn't expect to run into any fishermen out here in this fog.  But now that the fog has lifted - possibly a few will come to the lake.

Below a ring billed gull searches for shad and minnows.

 



The fog was totally gone by 10 AM and the freshness of the lake was apparent.  I can't believe I'm really on the mud hole, Douglas Lake.  It's actually kind of pretty.
 The day was a nice one full of photographic surprises.  I really enjoyed being on the water.  It was really cold out here early this morning but, I have the proper equipment to stay safe and warm.  Hope you enjoyed this posting.  

I've got to get back over to Chilhowee Lake and Scona Lodge soon and Indian Boundary needs a visit also.  I'll take you along.  See ya.