Friday, December 13, 2013

SOME BALD EAGLE FACTS, A RANT, AND OTHER STUFF




They personify America, don't they?  When one looks at a bald eagle one thinks patriotic thoughts, and images of a bell with a large crack down the side comes to mind -  Minutemen, Redcoats, muskets with bayonets and long rifles held by men facing down a steep hill at a sea of red uniforms massing below them.  Yes, the bald eagle is The United States Of America's mascot and more.  To gaze upon the Majesty  of this bird is a look deep into the heart of America and suddenly one realizes pride in country and  the history that brought us all to the present day comforts most all Americans enjoy today.  To watch one of these grand marshals swoop and soar in the sky represents the freedom that only Americans enjoy.  And, to look straight into an eagles face - into his eyes - the message of look but don't even try to touch is conveyed back to the watcher.  When the needle sharp talons grasp and pierce the prey, and it is carried high into the sky, the visual message is to be certain of the enterprise and strike swiftly, surely and defend with might.
It's difficult to believe that our government would allow this honored bird of prey to fly into harms way and not lift a finger to prevent it.  Actually, the current government has only recently removed protective measures around wind farms that prevent eagles from flying into the rotating blades.  I guess it costs money to install protective shields around the windmills and wind farms and industry has lobbied congress to allow them exemption from providing these protective measures.   So, congress has given industry, the people who manufacture the wind machines, a 30 year moratorium on the installation of equipment to protect birds from collision with the rotating blades of the windmills.  In short - the eagles will be knocked from the skies, maimed and killed for the next 30 years.  How many eagles do you think will be knocked from the sky and killed over a thirty year period?  Here, let me help you.  The answer is thousands.   Does Congress really care about wildlife?  What do you think?  The industry lobbyists have lined the pockets of the politicians with contributions if they would be able to duck the additional costs of the guards and shields around these "most important" wind farms, the future of our countries energy.  And, so goes the politician following the bag of money down the political path to wealth, in this case at the expense of our eagles and, all birds really.  This is a Liberal move and I might add that Republicans backed it and Obama gave his blessing.  What chance does wildlife have in a political climate like this.  Is wind really the future of Americas's energy?  One dead bald eagle isn't worth all the damn windmills on earth to me.  I'll let this drop right here because i get very emotional about eagles and I'm very, very disappointed that our Congress is so impressed by money and power that they'd sacrifice our nations symbol of freedom over a bunch of windmills.  But then, evaluate what our current dictators have done to "our" freedom already.  Possibly the black vulture would be the appropriate bird to represent our current dictatorship in Washington.  No, no - I miss spoke.  I don't want to give black vultures a bad name.
Bald Eagles were on the decline between the 1700's and the 1960's due to habitat loss, hunting, pesticides and pollutants - DDT the most important.  The populations started increasing since the DDT ban in 1972.  Currently, bald eagles have been removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.  It is not protected by the Endangered Species Act any longer.  However, the bald eagles are protected under the Bald Eagle And Golden Eagle Protection Act and The Migrating Bird Act which prohibits the killing or harming of the eagles.  That all being noted and understood - then, how in the world can windmills be operated, without proper protective measures installed to protect the eagles?  How can Congress create these wildlife acts stating emphatically that bald and golden eagles are protected from harm and still remove the very protective measures that keep them "from harm?"  It is so frustrating!
I can attest to the fact that today is Friday the 13th.  Yep, sure can.  I was at the boat ramp just at sunup this morning in a very cold 30 degrees and was thinking "what am I doing this for?"   Oh, ya, it's my job.
I mean it was cold!  I rolled up the wet bow line and my fingers became useless immediately after and I reached for the heat packs that Anne sent me last year for Christmas.  Those things are the best Christmas gift!.  Thanks Anne.  I opened up the last two I have and popped them in my gloves and instantly felt the warmth flowing over my fingers.  Shade was laying in the 50 degree water and I thought, "how in the world does she do that?"
The sun was coming up with a less than spectacular sunrise but, I'd take it and the heat that would soon follow.  As it turned out the heat didn't come until I was ready to get off the lake.  I just got the boat back after some major engine repairs and needed to run it to red line at least once to check it out and, so I did.
Seems to be running fine but, someone unhooked the "smart gauge", a gauge that reads the condition of all the important functions of the engine.  I got part of it fixed but I can't tell how the engine is trimmed unless I look back at the engine to determine visually how much it's tilted.  Seems no one is thorough when they repair anything mechanical these days.  It's all hurry, rush, move on to the next job and get the money, money, money.  At least the original problem is fixed.
The morning progressed and I only saw two other boat on the water.  I remember thinking how nuts they are to be out here until I remembered I'm out here too.  I chuckled and headed to the truck.  It was here that I was reminded it was Friday the 13th.  
I idled in toward the shore and killed the engine, allowing the bow to coast up to and touch the mud, rocks and gravel.  This is Cherokee Lake, by the way.  Shade jumped off as did I and we quickly walked up the ramp to the truck.  I slid the key in the door lock and jumped in and fired up the engine.  I looked down the ramp to see the boat had floated off the shoreline and was about ten feet out to sea.  My heart dropped.  I backed the truck down the ramp as fast as I could but I was too late because there was no way I could reach the boat, and the water was 50 degrees and impossible to wade in.  "Well, there it goes Shade."  She just stood beside me and stared out at the water.  What a pair we must have looked like.  I sat down on a rock to determine where that boat would wash ashore.  Plenty of rocks to sit on.  Plenty.
Above is a view of the ramp from the opposite side of the water - obviously.  The water was very calm back here in this cove and the boat moved very slowly across and down the water.  I saw where it probably would alight on the opposite shoreline.   I'd have to walk about 1/8th mile up my side of the shore (right side of picture below), cross a little stream (way back where the left and right shorelines meet in the pic) to the other side and then jump from rock to rock down to where the boat would hopefully get hung up on the rocks (down the shoreline in the left of the below shot).  That little stream was too wide to jump and too deep to wade.  I had to go up to the woods and find a bare limb to use as a balance for crossing a line of rocks I saw in the stream.  Whew!  This is tough.  After negotiating the rock bridge and planting my feet on the other side and sinking to my knees in mud, we started a rapid walk down the other shoreline toward the boat.  Fast walk is an understatement because it was solid boulders and hopping from boulder to boulder is a better description of how I had to travel.
And so, the shot above is the way I found the boat.  Had to jump rock to rock beside the boat and finally reached the deck.  My cameras were on the boat when it drifted away from the opposite shoreline or I would have had the precious moments recorded.  I can't say enough how much I detest and abhor this body of water.  It is the Devil's spawn and I despise it.  But, the jobs fun.  Make sense?  I thought not.

I had a piece about some sandhill crane facts but chose to hold off until another entry. This entry about my ordeal today plumb wore me out writing it.  Yep - it's Friday the 13th alright.