Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I'm going to make PeeWee famous.  I absolutely adore this wolf dog!

 Mom perches in the shade against the wide part of the tree trunk overlooking her young eagles.
Junior is growing rapidly and soon will be leaving the nest for long walks out along the thick tree limbs to perch "out there" and investigate the world around him.  Little does he know that he will be the dominant being in any territory he claims for his own and he will own the sky.

 There is, however, a concern.  I've been watching two youngsters in the nest over the past couple months and recently I've only seen one.  I pass the nest almost daily and I haven't seen the second baby eagle in a long time.  I do fear the worse.

It may be that the second baby simply will not rise above the edge of the nest, although I find that odd because the sibling is constantly in view.  If she were alright why isn't she anywhere to be seen? 
 It is a known fact that sometimes the first born baby eagle will grow large quickly and become dominant to the point of pecking the sibling to death and pushing it out of the nest.  The adults will tolerate this action and will not intervene.  It's the way nature guarantees the fittest survive.  There are no classroom tests to see who will succeed and move on - no second place winners in nature.  This is a possibility hear with these babies.
The mother is very, very attentive to her chicks, or chick as the case may be.  She constantly walks around the top edge of the nest and bends forward to check on her babies.
If the presumption that one baby has met his end is not bad enough, there is more detrimental news.  Someone has purchased the ground that the eagle tree and nest are on and intends to build a house there.  This will end the residence of this eagle pair.  They will move away and not return as soon as activity around the property increases.  Its the same old story - habitat taken away from them and they are the ones who have to move on.  Its just how it is.  We, TWRA, are researching the federal protection laws to see which legalities pertain to this situation.  The US Fish and Game (feds) have been notified also.  Bald eagles are federally protected.  Its a shame these eagles have to be uprooted as they have produced offspring from that nest for the past 6 years and have delighted the residence of the area for as long.  Add humans and you lose habitat and with the habitat loss goes the critters and all that's left is another damn house.

I'll keep my eye on this situation for sure.  There is a very competent TWRA officer involved with this situation and I spoke with her tonight about it.  She will do all that she can within the context of the law to preserve these eagle's rights.
I stopped the truck a few miles away from Nance Ferry on the river to glass the water with binoculars.  I heard a not too familiar Bob White call.  It took me a while to locate the little rascal but I did.
 This is a Northern Bob White.  His call, "Bob White" is very distinct.  I've never actually seen one of these in Tennessee until today. 

 And yes, they have been shot almost into oblivion.

Had to get to the river to count anglers at Nance Ferry and Indian Cave.  Along the way I noticed a gobbler crossing a field.
 He was strutting around in front of some females until he saw a large flock of females above him at the top of the little hill he was walking up.
He took off with a flurry of feathers and the sound of wings moving a lot of air.  I wasn't expecting him to take flight.  
 Turkeys are powerful flyers and they move through the sky with grace and skill.

As soon as big bird landed, an entire flock of wild turkeys flashed into the sky from the top of the hillside. They were hiding in a fence line and I guess were startled by big bird's appearance.  Their flight was something to see and I could watch it all from my high vantage point.
 It's not every day I get to see turkeys take to the wing and it's really a treat to be able to see these enormous birds cast about through the sky high among the tree tops.  These birds flew tree top height and crossed a creek to land near good cover and habitat just beyond.  

It's been a pretty neat day. I'm discouraged to learn of the bald eagle's plight but we will look out for their well being as best we can.  They will survive but it will no longer be in that nest and tree.  A shame.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


I've only posted a very few pictures up here so not to bore you..  I go past here daily and it's marvelous to have the opportunity to photograph them..
 Junior is growing like a bad weed

 Love the picture above and also the one below.
That dark gray lump in the nest is Junior.  He's laying on his side and you can see his big yellow foot in the center of the picture.  Won't be long until he's out on the limb. His sister is in there also but rarely shows herself.  That is Dad on the limb.  He's smaller than mom.
I think I'm finally getting a handle on this white balance issue.  I'm supposed to be able to read a color graph on the camera to aid in setting that adjustment.  I can't deal with it.  :)   Fairly heavy storms moving in and staying for a few days.  Might get exciting around here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I studied the owners manual for my camera last night to see if I could find any remedies for the harsh back lighting caused by bright sky because I'm tired of sub-par eagle shots.  The sun was bright today and the eagles were certainly back-lighted as usual. As soon as I talked to the fishermen wading in the water below me I would drive to that part of the river and photograph the eagles.  I couldn't talk to the anglers until the baptism was over.  Yep - baptism.  Gotta respect the baptism.

Notice the guys fishing out in the river.  I never pegged the tailrace of Cherokee Dam for a religious piece of water.  I got my work done here and drove to the next area where anglers hang out.  The eagle nest is about an eighth mile from the river.
I adjusted the white balance on the camera and selected a different picture setting.  I took a lot of shots and no two are identical but they show the eagle in slightly different poses.  One of the babies can be seen in a couple shots.  Look at what you want and bypass the rest.  I just love eagles and get carried away sometimes.
The female bald eagle was in the shade on a limb adjacent to the nest.  

And then Junior popped up.
The baby was staying low in the nest out of the sun.  Remember;  there are two babies in there.  The bald eagle on the nest right now is the female.

Then one of the babies stuck his wing out of the nest.  They are getting very big.  Look at that wing.

I selected a Landscape picture setting over the standard picture setting because the Landscape setting enhances the foliage shots and produces more vivid colors.  And - the white balance setting is more flexible.  All these shots are much better than the ones from yesterday.
 I love these two shots of the adult as they are unique.
Here's Junior again:

 The shot of Junior below is my favorite.

Junior's head popped up just when I pushed the shutter button.

That was my afternoon.  I'm happy with the pictures and I learned a lot about overcoming back-lighting, although I doubt it can be totally controlled but I'm satisfied with these shots.  I'll keep working on it..  The babies will be jumping up and down on the thick limbs up there in that tree before long and I'll get the action.  I'm missing the baby ducks, otters and beavers which should be on Calderwood Lake as well as the Holston River right now.  I got to get it in gear.  And, I have another surprise which I'll save till later.

I may have to take Happy to the doctor tomorrow as she is acting out of character over the past week.  She's been breathing as if her intake is restricted and makes a wheezing sound.  It's not all the time but often enough to make me concerned.  She isn't jumping about and licking my hand all the time either.  I took her with me in the truck tonight and she was laying with her muzzle on my knee when she suddenly yelped loudly, sat up and stared at me with a "deer in the headlight" look on her face.  Scared me to death.  I called the vet when I got home and she said it doesn't sound like anything life threatening as long as she holds her head up, eats, and sleeps comfortably.  I told the vet "thanks" and I'd evaluate her overnight and I'd call on Sunday if I thought I needed to bring her in.  The vet I have is the bestest of the best.