Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Wildlife shots taken with 120-400 mm Sigma IS lens

Last night, I tossed around the idea of either going to Beech Creek on the Holston River or to Chilhowee Lake.  I was still thinking on it this morning at 4 AM while checking emails.  It's a long drive up there and I was actually looking for reasons not to go.  Then I thought - "whats wrong with you?  Just go."  

Geese were circling the river in formation seemingly with a definite destination.

They descended close to the surface of the lake, past me by and immediately gained 
altitude once again.  
I doubted I would run into any outstanding photographic opportunities today as I didn't get here to nearly noon.  Critters just don't usually move about at noon or early afternoon.  Early morning or late afternoon to evening are the prime times.  I just wanted to get out of Dodge and onto some pretty water for a change.  I took some pictures of some not so sensational subjects just to stay in practice.

There were four trucks with boat trailers attached parked in the lot at the boat ramp.  It looks like I would have some company out there on the river.  I eased on down Beech Creek toward the Holston.

Brown is the predominant color along the river this time of year.  I posted a blog entry last year about the color brown in Winter.  Brown is beautiful when it trims a pretty waterway.  It is a natural color and is indicative of the season.  However, it is beautiful when it borders water that is scenic.  The opposite is true of reservoirs.  Brown foliage trimming the massive brown banks left to view by the receding waters is ugly and dismal to the point of affecting one's attitude.  Don't want to talk about it.  

Fishermen were sitting quietly - only their arms moving back and forth.  They somehow appeared as images on a picture.

I quietly slipped up on the two old men in the boat above.  They never heard me or, acted like they didn't.  I got to about two yards from their boat and said "excuse me."  They both jerked their heads around.  The engine on the Gheenoe is a very quiet engine and I really think I surprised them.  I wanted to ask them what they fish for on this water and how the fishing was. .  It seems that crappie,shellcrackers, small and largmouth bass as well as catfish are the primary fish of interest.  Bluegills are in the mix too.    I asked them if many people fish this part of the river and they said mostly local folks use it. 

I then wound the conversation down and took off down the river. 

I took a couple shots at a great blue heron just to hear the camera click.  Gotta stay in practice.

An eagle passed over and headed into some tall trees.  He landed deep inside their protective branches and was almost totally hidden.  Being accustomed to seeing bald eagles - I searched him out.

There are only two bald eagles on this body of water that I know of.  I suspect this is one of the pair.  They had a nest along the shoreline in a tall tree this summer but I noticed the tree was blown down in the fall.  They may be building another nest in these trees.  I took the pictures you see above to document the sighting and punched the coordinates into the GPS.
Billions of birds were squawking in the trees.  I had an idea what was up.  Look directly at the center of the picture above.

A huge red tail hawk was being harassed by small red winged black birds.  He was under siege.  There is no peace for the wicked.  He withstood the heckling as long as he could take it and exited stage right.

The will of the masses prevailed and routed him.  Wonder why our government doesn't react to the masses like this.
I headed back to the truck.  I made one long pass along both shorelines looking in particular for otters.  No luck.  I noticed the resident red tail hawk sitting in his special, favorite tree.  He's there every time I go to Beech Creek.  I'd miss him if he wasn't there.  He's a big, big boy for sure.

A black vulture was sitting on a low limb of a tree.  What the heck.  I took his picture too.  Cick, click, click and click.  Yep, the camera still works.  I'm implying that there wasn't many photo opportunities today.  No matter though.  I love this place.

So, there you have it.  I spent a really nice, low key afternoon on some pretty water.  No stress or pressure at all except for the interstate I had to use to get here.  I despise that road.  Despise it!

Its back to the dentist in the morning to get a floating bone chip removed and a piece of bone filed down with a bone file.  It just materialized and is preventing the lower denture from fitting down over my gums.  This dental thing is getting very old and I'm losing patience.  Now, what's that medical lawyer's phone number?  I seem to have misplaced it.  Oh well.  See you next time.  Thanks for looking in.