Friday, August 23, 2013


Cherokee was really pretty this morning and I knew there would not be many, if any, wildlife photographic opportunities but, everything was clicking in a positive fashion in the old head.  The threat of rain increased as the morning progressed.  That was OK with me.  I like rain on the lake.
This area of Cherokee Lake I was on is huge and I kept the engine going without stop the entire morning.
An osprey stood out stark against the sky and I just had to push the shutter button if for no other reason than to say I took a picture.

He took off and swooped down onto the surface of the lake with his legs down and talons extended.

He missed his mark and continued directly across the lake as if embarrassed at the miss.  I guess they can't be successful all the time.

A brown movement in lush green foliage proved to be a green heron.

I received word from a couple of old fishermen that there were otters in a certain cove.  They fish on this area of the lake Summer and Winter so I figured they ought to know.  I checked the area out but, didn't see any otters.  That doesn't mean they aren't there.  I suspect they were in their den and will probably not appear until later in the afternoon.  If they're there - I'll get em.
Like I mentioned earlier - Cherokee doesn't have many opportunities to photograph wildlife so I didn't take many pictures today.  My mind was on this sandhill crane hunt that was approved.  It will take place November 28 through January 24th.  I'm really upset over this hunt.   The results of part of the questionnaire sent to the hunters and the public indicated that 880 people were against the hunt and only 178 were for it.  These numbers were probably from phone questionnaires as there has to be thousands of responses to the inquiry I'd think.  I don't really understand the polling at this point.   Yet, the TWRA commissioners sanctioned the hunt.  I do not understand this ruling.  Maybe I need to re-read the data again.  Whatever the results - I still think it unconscionable to shoot sandhill cranes.  That all being said - I'm going to go out on a limb and predict the next candidate to be put on a hunting license.

In case you don't know what this bird is, it's a double crested cormorant.  Cormorants are not indigenous to Tennessee.  They are a shore bird and found from Alaska to around the edges of the continent to the east coast, Canada and Main and follow inland waterways.  There are sub species of this bird that range to the Aleutian Islands and beyond.  Cormorants were almost annihilated in the 60's with the use of DDT.  They, like many bird species, have come back from extreme decline to the current healthy population their species enjoy today.  There seems to be a problem, however.  It seems their comeback from near disaster has been so successful that their numbers are causing concern among the human populations who dwell on the shorelines of the lakes here in Tennessee.   You see - cormorants create rookeries in the early Spring where they build nests in trees located on islands.   Rookeries come in all sizes from a couple trees holding 15 nests to rookeries with a concentration of up to a thousand birds or more.  Here's the issue:  The effluent from these birds, liquid, is highly acidic and when it is spewed down over the trunks and through the branches and leaves of trees - it eventually kills the tree.  The cormorants use the same rookeries year to year so the disastrous affect to the trees is almost guaranteed.  Many people say that cormorants don't belong here.  In my mind, cormorants belong where ever they want to be.  "They" are products of nature and not governed by imaginary lines on paper.   The correct thing to say is that they are not indigenous to the state of Tennessee.

Now, the issue.  It seems that folks who have spent a lot of money for lake side property don't like looking out their kitchen windows from high atop the cliff and seeing an island out in the middle of the lake with dead standing trees on it.  So, the complaints about the birds are made.  When the complaints become loud enough and the real estate sales companies voice their concern about the tainted view for potential real estate sales - guess what happens.  Cormorants have already been "culled" in other states to reduce their populations to a more "manageable" size and it's my guess that this "culling" process will eventually be pressed into use here in Tennessee on our lakes as a means of diminishing the size of cormorant flocks, thereby reducing the size of their rookeries.   By the way - the term "cull" is another one of those politically correct terms used to avoid saying what it really is - kill.

Yes, and I'm sure that eventually the hunters will be offered up yet another animal for the hunting list.  There are other ways of managing populations of wildlife. Sterilization is a very popular and effective method but, hunting is the more financially lucrative method.  Just sayin.  I think it prudent for ornithologists within the confines of the state to research what's going on with cormorants "now."   Remember that you heard it here first when these birds are finally persecuted.  It's a heads up for anyone interested.