Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ALWAYS SOMETHING DIFFERENT

The old Mercury engine on the junk boat started vibrating occasionally as I idled down Beech Creek.  It would run smoothly and go into a sudden shudder then, smooth out again.  I stopped and touched up the fuel screws a bit.  That wasn't the problem.  I drove too far in the truck to get here to turn around and go home.  Maybe it would straighten itself out.  They never do though - and it didn't.
I am constantly on the same water and see the same species of critters but, there is always something that occurs that is of interest.  It never gets old cruising on rivers.
I just picked up the camera to turn it on and set it back in the case when this little "red head" duck took off in a flurry.  I almost missed her.  
I love it when I can catch the critters in an out of the ordinary pose.  That shot above was what I call a snap shot.  It was accomplished sort of like pointing a shotgun without really aiming.  No time to aim the camera.  Actually, I almost missed the bird.
Red Head Duck
I was nearing the little island where the goose was incubating her eggs.  I'll keep my distance so I don't disturb her.  If looks could kill ---


She never batted an eye and watched me intently, as she always does when I pass by.  I can't wait to see the little chicks that will be scampering about on the island soon.
Look how intense her stare is!   Another goose has taken up temporary residence with this girl.  She also is sitting on eggs.
Dad was flying up and down the edge of the little island, keeping watch.  This is a fantastic time of the season on the river.
A beaver cruised briefly along the shore and ducked into a hole in the river bank just below the surface.  I photographed him but the shots are nothing outstanding and one can't even tell that the critter is a beaver so, I didn't post the shots.
Then, a shadow passed over the boat and when I looked up I saw a bald eagle carrying a rather large fish.  He landed in a tree and commenced to tear the fish apart.  My course would pass in front of him although, the distance would be considerable.  

I took the shots above and the boat's engine started missing and shuddering badly.  I can't believe it!  Perfect timing.  These shots had the potential to be the best I ever took and here I am pressing the shutter button in between vibration pulses of the engine.  Then, the cement mixer quit.  Good!
I couldn't get close to the eagle because of the engine problem and besides - the area was shallow closer to shore.



He was going to fly.  These birds up here on the Holston absolutely will not tolerate disturbances.  They act very different than the birds do on the lakes.  








I didn't realize just how large this guy was until he launched into the air and spread his wings.  Bald eagles are impressive - very impressive!





This is tough photography.  The wake that was behind the boat finally caught up to it and started a violent rocking motion.  Great!  The eagle was heading across the lake with his fish and was out of sight in short order.  The bucket of bolts fired up and I moved slowly down the lake.





It's a lot of photographs, but like I've mentioned before - just scroll down through them  as you choose.  
I have a knack for seeing critters that shouldn't be seen.  I noticed a red tail hawk buried back behind a tree.  There was a hole in the foliage just large enough for the big 500 millimeter lens to poke through and get him.
The picture above illustrates what I saw when I discovered the hawk.





The bald eagle's nest was just three hundred yards down the coast from this hawk.  I'm beginning to feel like a tourist guide.. That's OK.
Mom eagle was sitting in the nest.  Bet she's sitting on eggs.  How cool is that?  I'm going to be frustrated with the leaves fill in the tree branches and hides the nest.  Man!



Now, that eagle's nest is a very long shot for a camera.  Look at her staring at me.  Everyone stares at me up here.  If only they knew what a great friend I am to them!
There is a small great blue heron rookery on this river and it, like the eagle's nest, is about three hundred yards further down the lake.  Odd.

All the birds except ducks are carrying sticks through the skies to reinforce old nests or to build new ones.  If you never saw a baby blue heron, you're in for a treat.  I'll show you when the time arrives.
An osprey winged by and landed in a tree up ahead.






And then the engine quit.  It just quit.  I sat still and gazed into the water, probably with a blank look on my face.  Now, here's a pickle!  It wouldn't start.  There was nothing to be done.  Fortunately I installed an electric motor a couple months ago that is barely powerful enough to move this boat.  I lowered it into the water and turned the throttle wide open and moved about two miles per hour toward the ramp..  The trip took two hours.  And, that was my day.  I loved every minute of it in spite of the problem. 

I met an interesting gentleman today on the lake named Keith Bartlett.  Mr. Bartlett is a writer and also has an interest in wildlife photography.  I posted a copy of his business card below.  His blog site is really interesting and I know many of you will like its content.  I meet some really nice folks out here.  It's part of why I love what I do. I hope you liked today's post.   We'll see what I can dig up later in the week.