Saturday, January 5, 2013

FIRST OFFICIAL DAY ON JOHN SEVIER AND A BUFFLEHEAD

What, you ask?
I really liked the reflection.  Couldn't resist a shot at these Holstein girls.
Today was the first time I could get the official state boat on John Sevier Reservoir.  I had to do some modifications to the boat to make it "shallow water" friendly.  I ran on the water for the afternoon shift and it was a great afternoon.  Its a long ride up there and back but it doesn't matter.  I love that waterway.  
Its really great how the colors emerge when the sun is bright.  The shoreline is beautiful up here with the water touching the earth where its supposed to.  The air was crisp and cold but I ignored it.  I turned right at the end of Beech Creek onto the Holston River and headed upstream along the right hand shoreline.  I am to run upstream as far as I can go - cross the river and return downstream on the opposite side to the dam.

I had the aluminum jon boat today and it proved to be an excellent ride for this type of water.  We, coworkers and myself, put a lot of work into this little aluminum boat and the effort is paying off.  Our combined efforts have made this a reliable little craft that can serve many purposes for our fisheries department.
I still think this little section of river is one of the prettiest pieces of water in Tennessee.   I fully intend to load the canoe with provisions in the Spring and paddle this thing as far upstream as that boat will go just to do it.
I noticed some beaver activity starting to show on the shoreline as I cruised along.  Then, all of a sudden, it really showed.  Wow!
Great Scott!  Look at the size of that tree, and the wood chips laying on the ground.  This must be a super beaver.  They are really active here.

These chomped trees are really huge.  I looked around and found where they stay.  I could see little slides from the shoreline down into log piles.

Yep - they're under all that wood.  At least some are under there.  I love it.  This is good to see.
Beavers are amazing critters!
I had gone as far upstream as I could go.  I ran into a shoal that crosses the expanse of the river.  I noticed something white and black in the water far ahead.  The thing was leaving a water trail behind it so it was a critter.  I have never seen one of these but here it is.
It was obvious that he didn't want me to get any closer.  He was in my path and we would just have to see what happened.  The current was flowing with determination and I cut off the engine and let the boat float downstream.  I was able to get a little closer but he cut toward the shoreline.  



I have never seen one of these little ducks.  He is a Bufflehead.  They aren't common around here, primarily staying West of these waters.  He's not really unique or rare either.  The little fellow was totally alone and "he" is a male.  There would be no communing with this guy as he evidently felt his space was invaded and he flew.
And, did he ever take off!  He is one fast duck.
He was a feathered rocket!  It was all I could do to swing the camera on him.  I wished I would have selected a faster shutter speed but, things are what they are.  These shots are the best I could do with him.

The temps were dropping with the sun.  The days are short and the cold comes fast.  It would be dark soon and time to get off the water.  I chugged on back to the Beech Creek boat ramp and loaded up.
I'm going to enjoy working on this water all Summer and I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities to photograph otter and beaver not to mention bald eagles, green herons and black crowned herons.  I'll do my best to get em for ya.  See ya again soon.  Thanks for the look see.