Saturday, June 1, 2013

BABY HERONS AND A VERY SMART CROW

Before I get into this post I want to make readers aware of a site run by a friend who happens to be the Tennessee State Ornithologist.  It is a site about wildlife.  Folks are encouraged to contribute their wildlife photos which are posted to the site once each month.  There are some really creative wildlife photos that appear there.  The address to the gallery of photos part of the site is http://www.tnwatchablewildlife.org/gallery.cfm
You may enjoy seeing your photos on the site for all to enjoy.  Just thought I'd mention it.

What you are looking at is a crow with a shad in it's beak.  I watched this particular crow swoop down to the surface of the water, hover for a couple seconds in place, stick his head down and under the water and come up with a shad held cross-ways in it's beak.  Guess what - crows aren't supposed to do that.  He immediately took his prize to a field and attempted to eat it.  He couldn't.  He fiddled with it and eventually took off with it to some out of the way place where he could spend time alone working on the problem.  I saw one other crow do this about 9 years ago and have not seen it since.  Crows are industrious and they are also copy cats.  I bet he learned by watching herons and gulls.


I was on the upper Holston River above Cherokee Dam and below the "over the top" dam at John Sevier.  I like this section of Cherokee as it has some wild places along the water.

The dog of the day on the boat was Happy.  She was long overdue to get out with me on the water.  Actually, the temperatures this afternoon were over 90 degrees and Shade's black coat absorbs the heat.  She is a morning dog when the heat is just ramping up for the day.  Happy is showing that older adult look.  The cute puppy face is taking on the look of older and, hopefully, a wiser look.  She'll always be my baby doll though.
The ride would go past the great blue heron rookery that's located on a thin strip of trees I call an island.  There's not much to it and I don't understand how the trees can live with their trunks submerged year round.  But, they do.


Look closely and you'll see babies in the nest.  The shot above shows one of the fuzzy headed little guys standing up surveying his world.


More baby pictures are in the shots above.
But, the best baby picture is the next one.  A face only a mother could love.  He looks studious and curious.
A couple geese had their chick out for a walk.  Yes, there's only one left.  Nature reeks havoc on new born critters.  This is probably the only baby left out of the entire group of newborns.

The "over the top" dam at John Sevier was really pouring water over it.  The river is very, very high and it is only a few yards from the top of the dam.  This is an odd year for high water.  Normally it's a 75 foot drop from the top of the dam to the river below.  Not so today.
I asked a TVA maintenance guy how they get the drifting logs off the top of the dam.  He said they don't.  They eventually will go on over and into the river below.  There is one very huge tree up there that I noticed three months ago.  

The sun is really beating down hard.  I love it.  Happy has a light colored coat and it isn't a problem for her.  I let her off to swim occasionally too. 

Ok - I'll attempt to photograph a swallow flying at top speed.
Ok - back to the drawing board.
I've always been interested in caves but have never attempted to enter one out here.  Anything can happen and it's a foolish endeavor to attempt when alone.  I tried to get Happy to go on in for me.
I ate an entire peanut butter sandwich while sitting here against this rock face.  She would have nothing to do with that hole.  I couldn't even get her off the boat.  I guess there's something foreboding about the scene that caused apprehension in her.
The picture can't show it but that cave goes back a long way.  I could see really deep into it and I couldn't see any wall.  That one could be interesting to go in.  Maybe....
I rounded a bend on the way back to the trailer and a sight caught my eye that made me shut off the boat.  The sun was casting a bright ray of light onto a bush located in the shade of a cliff.  On the bush was a great egret.  The pictures don't do the scene justice.


With the proper camera lens - that shot would be an award winner.  Gotta use what I have though.
Tomorrow it's back up to the upper river.  I'll see if I can catch the baby beavers out on the grass where their bodies can be photographed.  How sweet they are!  See you then.