Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A COLD, COLD DAY ON THE WATER

This entry is a continuation of the previous entry I made early this morning and finds me on Douglas lake for the afternoon shift.  The lake was colder than the ambient temperature at home.  I read 41 degrees on the outside thermometer at the bank as I passed by.  The boat ramp was empty when I got there.  No problem at all because I can function out there with or without human habitation.  
I wasn't on the water ten minutes when I found B 9 bald eagle.  This is the third time I've found him.  He's staying near the hack tower where he was introduced to the lake and to Tennessee back in 2009.  You can see his wing tag in the shot above.  I won't post a bunch of pictures of him as I did so in previous entries.  I'm getting tired of shooting photos into the sun also.  It's really a waste of time.  The resultant shots are average to less than average at best.  I don't know why I continue to do so.  Habit I guess.  Then an immature flew across some trees at a level lower than tree top which took him out of the back lighted situation.  Got him!
Not bad - Not bad.  You can see the how the quality of the photo is vastly improved when the light is either behind the camera or buffered by obstacles.  That should end up being a decent shot.
There were a lot of bald eagles on the lake.  I counted ten from the mouth of Muddy Creek back to the Dandridge boat ramp which is about four miles.  There was another surprise today.  I noticed many, many American Loons on the water.  They were everywhere.  I counted forty between the boat ramp and Muddy Creek.  I've not seen that many on one day in the ten years I've been in Tennessee.


These birds are amazing.  They don't pose at all but remain aloof and on their guard.  If a boat approaches, even at great distances, they dive totally under water.  I have, at times, waited for them to surface so I could get a picture of them and they surface a hundred yards away.  They are impossible.  I have lucked out on previous occasions and photographed them very close up but, my boat was stopped and they approached me.  That was a lucky day.

All these loons are in their Winter plumage.  I'm certain these birds are migrants and will head North as Spring approaches.  We in Tennessee aren't privileged very often to see these birds in their breeding plumage which is spectacular to see.  Once in a great while one will be late leaving these lakes for the North and he will have his new flashy plumage suit on but, its a rare treat when we get to enjoy that vision.
These eagles are frustrating me.  They are always sitting on the highest limbs with the sun directly at their backs and in my face.  I could have obtained some fantastic eagle shots this afternoon if the sun was at my back.  Instead I got silhouetted shots that are of sorry quality.  I was Johnny on the spot when an eagle would land on or take off from a limb.  Look below.  These could have been sensational eagle pictures.




All of the shots above had the potential to be super pictures.  Instead they are dark and the sky is washed out.  It's impossible to get good shots when aiming into the sun.  I believe I'll start passing on shots like this no matter how tempting and use the afternoons for eagle pictures.  The sun will be setting on the West side of the lake in the afternoons leaving the East side lighted to the extent that the camera's metering system can handle the existing light or at least the camera can be successfully adjusted to compensate.  I guess eagle shots will be made from now on when I'm running on the lake in the afternoon.  Below are a few more "in the sun" shots that had potential to be great pictures.







Every one of the shots above could have been winners.  At least I have them to remember today's ride with.  Check out the good looking pair of adults below.  The male is the smaller of the two.

  








No luck.  Some of these shots would have been seriously impressive if the light would cooperate.  Oh well - I'll get em another day.

Did I say it was cold?  My fingers are freezing.  The first couple hours went by comfortably but, mid afternoon is getting to me.  The breeze is blowing the 43 degree temps through my gloves.  Some thief stole my good North Face mountain gloves when my truck was robbed a few months ago.  I'm using supposedly good gloves now but they are lacking.  I haven't seen another boat in this area all day.  I'm outa here.  It's just a waste of gasoline to keep rolling around out here on the water.  I need to air up the boat trailer tires and hook up the extension cord to the batteries and that should about finish out the shift for today.  Gotta get home to my kids.  See ya later.