Monday, August 12, 2013

HOLSTON RIVER ABOVE CHEROKEE LAKE

Oh no - here I go again.  She's all set to jump into the truck.  It's way too hot and the humidity is heavy - not good conditions for Shade to go along.  Poor thing.  But, she put me on the spot again.  I used diplomacy and let her down gently.  She stared out the window at me as the truck moved down the driveway.
I was on a section of the Holston River that lays below the John Sevier Reservoir and steam plant.  This piece of water is not known for critter habitation.  There are some neat birds that show up now and then but, there are no beavers, otters and the like to photograph.  This is the same water where I photographed the little blue heron.
The afternoon was overcast and the weather people were forecasting rain all day.  Those people are never right, however, any photography would be tough.
This had to be the most humid day of the year.  I kicked the speed up a notch just to make some breeze.  I started noticing green herons after a half hour driving upstream.  They were everywhere but I couldn't get close to them.  These guys were really shy.  They were very small birds too.  It seemed that every one was a tiny replica of the large green herons I'm used to seeing at the Rankin flood plain.  



Sorry for the distant pictures, but they just wouldn't let me near.  Green herons are a very interesting bird to watch.  They eat the same fare that all herons eat with the exception that they spear their fish with their sharp, pointed beak.  All other herons grasp fish and other prey.  This heron was catching tiny bugs that were skittering across the surface of the water.







There's a lot of shots posted above, I know, but how often can you watch a green heron hunting for food?

 Double Crested Cormorant


 Here's another green heron.  This is as close as I can get



Here's a couple really large painted turtles.
I noticed a belted kingfisher sitting on a tree limb with dense, green foliage behind him.  It looked like the makings of a good picture.  These birds will not abide the presence of this huge, white boat ever.  The shots had to be long.


A movement in an adjacent tree showed that there was another kingfisher almost hidden from view.  I made a try to photograph him.
 I got him - sort of.


I had to check out a long cove just ahead and I found it full of vultures.  They were everywhere.



I had discovered their daytime roosting place where they gathered to get out of the sun.  The foliage was dense in these trees and the vultures were here in force.  I was right in among them and they showed little fear.  Kind of creepy.
Each vulture, it seems, is a character unto himself.  They are not cookie cutter, identical birds.  Each one seems to have a subtle physical difference that sets him apart from the others.  Interesting.


The bird below is the typical vulture one thinks about when the cowboy is dying of thirst in the desert and the obligatory vulture sits waiting on a tree limb above.



I took a few shots of great herons and the end of the shift was near.  I couldn't wait to get to the Holston above the over- fall dam at John Sevier Steam Plant.  That area offers endless photographic opportunities.
A green heron flashed over the bow of the boat as he flew toward the shore.




Like I said - there were green herons everywhere and they flew at the slightest provocation.



This section of the river doesn't have the diversification of wildlife but, it's pretty all the same.  There are some neat birds, however.

I can't wait to get back on the water up at Beech Creek tomorrow.  I want to check on the eagles.  The immature s have been hiding lately and I'd like to see them and be assured of their safety.
 Get off my limb!
Its time for me to fly on out of here.  See ya tomorrow.