Sunday, December 9, 2012


I guess one could call it work.  I had an indication last Friday at the end of the shift that the engine on the state boat may be having a problem.  During the last hour on the water the "smart gauge  showed the engine, temperature and oil icons flashing on it's face.  This usually isn't a good sign.  Two stroke engines require the engine oil to be injected and mixed with gasoline automatically.  If the oil doesn't get mixed - the engine disintegrates and disappears off the back of the boat like magic.  My days off were Saturday, Sunday and tomorrow, Monday.  I messed a little with it on Saturday but had things to do. I thought and thought about that engine all night and decided this morning to make another run on the boat and recreate the flashing indicator light situation.  The gauge lighted up with the flashing icons and I started trouble shooting the thing best I could.  Did it have oil in the tank?  Yes.  Did it have oil in the engine tank under the hood?  Yes.  Did the engine run hot when the temperature light flashed?  No.  It did not.  This was the tip off.  When that light flashes the engine is normally running without cooling water circulating through it.  It's temperatures were perfect but, the hot light was on.  As it turns out lights are indicators driven by sensors.  All I could do is assure the wiring was hooked to the attachment points on the sensors.  The first place I looked was the pony tank (attached to the engine under the hood or cowling.)  The wire was loose and the lock screw was all but backed clear out.  I tightened it and took off.  No more flashing icons in the gauge.  I tested the boat up the shoreline and looked for eagles at the same time.  A short time on the water would be all that was necessary to put my mind at rest.  And there was the eagle.

This is pretty cool.  I don't have to look for them.  All I have to do is follow the shoreline and there they are.  This is why its so nice to collect the eagle data while I'm doing my normal job.  I don't have to vary my efforts from my normal duties in the slightest.  I'm just automatically there where the eagles are.  It's great!

This is a pretty eagle.  It had character.  I noticed no wing tag or leg band.  I recorded the GPS position and never stopped the boat.  He flew as soon as I got in front of him.

He made a dynamic launch into the sky and I hoped the shots would turn out good.  I am using a 120 - 400 mm lens today.  I left the big, heavy 500 mm home.  This 400 mm is lighter and smaller with the ability to be pointed much quicker than the 500 mm.  I like them both but I feel the 400 mm is a more practical lens for all around usage.
I went only about 500 yards further up the shoreline when another adult eagle took to the sky.  He didn't wait for me.  Darn it!  I documented his position and managed a shot or two as he flew directly into the sun.

I just can't believe the number of bald eagles on Douglas Lake.  There must be a common denominator that explains this phenomena.
Time to turn it around and get off the water.  It's been an hour since I messed with the motor and it's fine.  Gotta go.  And, yet another eagle appeared - an immature.

This guy is gorgeous!  He is what one would expect an eagle to look like.  He's, powerful, keen eyed and proportioned perfectly.  He resembles a Spartan.  Pardon me if I post so many shots of this young eagle.  I use this blog as a personal documentation as I can search the photos by date from the archives.  Just scroll away if you get bored.   

All those shots took only 60 seconds.  The immature was resting perfectly in front of a pale blue sky, not back lighted, and he was not behind barriers that would ruin the shots.  I guess this is as good as it gets.  He was documented and off down the lake I went for the truck.  I had some other things to do this afternoon.  I felt good about putting the issues with the boat engine to rest.  I can start the job on Tuesday morning and not be concerned about it.

I grabbed a few gull pictures on the way back to the boat ramp just for the heck of it.  Nothing great - just pictures.  I'm happy the boat engine is fixed and I'm happy the 400 mm lens worked so very well for me today.  I believe I'll just let it on the camera.  I like it.  

I'm off again tomorrow and want to get up to Beech Creek.  The weather forecast is calling for some heavy rain so we'll have to see what happens.  Maybe I can go to Calderwood or Chilhowee if it rains at Beech Creek.  I gotta get out.  Just gotta.  Catch you later.