Sunday, July 28, 2013

WITH WILD FRIENDS

I heard the screeching and chirping of a bald eagle across the lake.  The sounds were continuous and seemingly unending.  I thought to myself, "is an eagle in trouble?"  It bothered me as I've never heard them so vocal for so long.  I was due to cross the lake in another ten minutes so I headed on over a bit early.
One of the adults was poised on the top limb of an old snag tree.  The screaching continued, but it wasn't him making the noise.

The adult kept lowering his head, looking down.  I followed his gaze and saw his young offspring below him.
 Everything appeared normal.  The youngster didn't seem to be in any trouble that I could see.

It was the youngster who was making all the noise.  I suspect he wanted a hand out.  One thing is certain - bald eagle parents are the most attentive parents in the wilds.  They respond to the cries of their children instantly and I believe would be a force to be reckoned with for any human who would try to interfere with a youngster.  The adults seem to spend an enormous amount of their time hunting with and training the immature s also.  I captured the chirps and screeching sounds of the immature bald eagle sitting below his parent.  The video is for sound only.  TURN SOUND UP!
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I pulled away from the boat ramp slowly while I sifted through my little sea bag in search for my new glasses.  These were my first ever prescription glasses.  I took them carefully from their case and lifted them to my face.  Wow!  Were my eyes that bad?  Everything was crystal clear and crisp.  I smiled as I looked at everything around me.  I could see deeper into the trees and the water grasses were clearly defined.  Birds on the wing were suddenly crispy clear and I could identify the colors of the various tiny species that flitted here and there along the shoreline.  I wondered how long I needed these glasses.  How many years have I been avoiding them?  The reading aspect of them leaves a lot to be desired, but the distance end of the scale is fantastic.  I'll surely break them or worse - lose them in the lake.  
 I noticed a bird high in a tree that I thought was a green heron.  He is a green heron.

Check out the length of this guy's neck.  Where does he put all that neck?


Look at how long that neck is!  That's amazing!
This Holston River shoreline is one of the most fantastic habitats in Tennessee and holds a diverse population of wildlife, as I've been showing you through this blog.
 All I can think of to say is, "how bout that?"
Ah, ts a peach of a morning it is.  
  This is one of those mornings where everything goes perfectly.  The light, finally, was super for photography, as you'll soon see.  This entry will contain many photographs because I came across one of my favorite animals.  Please don't bore yourself with all the photos.  Just scroll down and out.  You can always come back another time.  Otters, bald eagles and beavers get my undivided attention every time I come across any of them.  See what I mean below:

The big beaver was lounging in front of his den munching on one of his favorite snacks.  He held a long tender stem of a water plant to his mouth with his deleterious front paws and was munching away.  






The look on his face is almost euphoric as he chomps away on his stem of green.  It must taste really good and sweet to him.






How sweet is he!  Look at that face and that button nose.




Pay particular attention to his paws which resemble small hands.  Also, notice that tail.  I'd love to feel that thing.  What an amazing animal!




Tell me animals don't enjoy themselves.  He is out here in nowheresville, not bothering anyone, totally non-threatening, enjoying life, trying to avoid contact with humans, or anything else for that matter and there are those who would trick him with a steel trap, shoot or bludgeon him to death, cut off his skin and throw him on a land fill.  He needs to be more elusive if he is to survive these trapping SOB's.




I slowly and quietly pulled the electric motor out of the water and let the river current take the boat downstream and away from him.  Moments like this with these elusive animals don't come along often and I savor every encounter with them.

It's really great to just look and watch.  No need to interact.  Just observe and quietly leave and be thankful for the few moments alone with something wild and truly free.
Speaking of wild and free - the second young bald eagle wasn't on the tall snag high on the mountain side like he usually is.  I passed by and continued down the river.  He suddenly arose from a pile of drift wood and alighted in a tree next to the water.  This eagle doesn't have any particularly favorite hangouts yet.  He will select his favorite spots to watch from eventually.  As for now, however, he appears anywhere and everywhere.





This young eagle has all the dynamic virtues of his father.  He is a perfect example of his noble breed and heritage.  I wonder where his travels will take him, and he will travel eventually.  Will he engage the migration routes that lead to the distant cold north and associated lakes, or will he simply stay on this river and find a mate?  Oh, I'll be here for it all.  I may be transferred off this water next year, but I'll continue to return to this river to keep tabs on these two immature eagles.  Count on it.





These birds are simply magnificent!  I'm glad Ben Franklin didn't get his way.


Some say that hunting and trapping is their/our heritage and they claim the right to exercise those privileges. To me they are legalities.  These animals and this habitat belong to the citizens of this great state of Tennessee to nurture and enjoy and are our true heritage and we had better learn to be better stewards of them both while we can.

It seemed that wildlife was in my face everywhere I looked today.  It's amazing how a sunny day can bring them out.  I wish them sun on their faces, a breeze to carry the heat of day away from their bodies and the ability to evade those who would do them harm.  Been a heck of a day!