Wednesday, April 10, 2013

COOL DAY TODAY -- As in pretty neat.

The warm weather is here at last and I have to admit that Cherokee Lake looked attractive in the early morning sun.  Shade came along with me this morning.
Shade acted like the perfect dog - quiet, calm and totally dedicated to me.  I appreciated her company.  Cherokee was full of surprises this morning.  I had my mind geared for the usual "idle around the lake with no wildlife" to a real eye opener.

I drove close to an island that contains the biggest cormorant rookery I ever saw and when the North end of the island came into view I noticed a group of birds right on the point of it.  At first I thought great egret but, the binoculars proved that wrong.

They are American Pelicans.  They do not belong here.  Actually, they don't belong anywhere East of the Mississippi River.  This is a rare sight.  I found three pelicans on the French Broad River above Douglas Dam in the Rankin bird area last year.  I thought that was incredible.  This is even more incredible. This is a lot of birds to be so far away from their home turf.  They were jumping and running about while excitedly flapping their wings. 

I put a lot of shots of these birds up here on the blog, I know.  I wanted to document this significant sighting because it may not happen again.

I'd be satisfied if I didn't see another critter all morning.  But, that wasn't the case.  Bald eagles are a rarity on Cherokee Lake and I was rather excited to see a gorgeous adult almost directly to my right as the boat passed by an island.

 "Hello to you too."

He just stood there and looked regal.  That's what bald eagles do.  That's all they have to do to be impressive.
I went past that cormorant rookery on an island when I was making my return drive to the boat ramp.  Many cormorants were carrying sticks to reinforce nests.  That island is packed tight with cormorants.  Amazing?  There are great blue herons here also.  Herons and cormorants often share rookeries.

The baby herons and cormorants will be easy to photograph here.  They remind me of little, skinny snakes sticking straight up, out of the top of the nests.  You'll see.
One of my favorite birds suddenly appeared.  I thought they would have moved on by now but, I guess a few are late travelers.  Or, maybe these particular loons will stay here in these waters in East Tennessee.  It's hard to say.

Time for a break.  Shade was overdue too.  That sun is getting really warm and Shade is feeling it.  There's nothing like a little swim to cool off.

It always feels good to stand on land after being in a boat rocking all around for over 4 hours.  Peanut butter sandwiches taste good too.  This is a pretty little shoreline.  The mud is now covered with the rising waters of the dam and shale is the primary shoreline covering.

The fish attractors used to be notated with poled signs.  I don't know if the signs are still used or not.  I see a lot of old habitat signs laying down on these islands.

We were almost at the end of the run.  Shade, bless her heart, stayed right on top of me the whole trip.  What a darlin!

She is so very well mannered and everyone on the lake loves her.  Another adventure comes to an end.  Cherokee Lake threw me a curve ball and surprised me this morning.  I may have to reassess my opinion of this piece of water.

German Creek Marina.