Tuesday, May 27, 2014

BABY EAGLES, FLOWERS, SHADE AND TOADS

I was off work today and the longer I sat around the house the more depressed I became.  I'm just not a sitter.  I was thinking of all the wildlife that shares habitat with humans and how insensitive human beings are to their wild neighbors.  If they're successful at life (coyotes, sandhill cranes, woodchuck, beavers, otters and more), they are persecuted as being over populated, with the result of being killed.  The excuse is it's for their own good.  I won't go on with this or It will turn into a rant and I'm not in the mood.  But, think of this.  All the organizations created to help the animals in distress amounts to a political effort by humans to correct the offenses suffered by all of natures critters because of the human greed factor.    Kill all but a very few to get the gold and after there is no more gold we can help the poor displaced animals who lived in that habitat..  When it comes to save the animal or make the money you can bet the money end of the issue will prevail.  Human beings are indeed a dirge on nature and will ruin the very planet we exist on if there is a profit in it.  OK, I feel better.

I needed to get some decent shots of those baby eagles down at the tailrace and I thought I would visit the site around 6 PM when the sun was lower in the sky.  I grabbed Shade and we were off.  The babies won't be there much longer and I want to have a few decent photos of them before their departure.  I still have some time yet as they need another month flying and hunting with their parents.  They haven't left the limb yet however.
 Ah, not too bad.  Seems the pictures are better taken later in the day.
 They are holding their wings away from their bodies to rid themselves of excess heat.
 I can't believe how they've grown.  It seems only yesterday I saw their skinny little necks sticking up above the edge of the nest.



 They are going to be magnificent.  I can tell....They already are magnificent.
 I only stayed a few minutes at the nest site as I didn't want to disturb them.  The parents have been gone every time I've visited this past week.  I guess they both have to hunt these days to feed themselves and these two ravenous young eagles.

I stopped on the way home at the roadside waterfall where Buffalo Creek drops off a ledge under a road.  Shade appreciated the stop.

In case you haven't figured it out, I love plants and trees and I am constantly planting both around the perimeter of my property.  Next Spring I intend to plant 20 thuja pines in the center of the yard in a "U" shape to create a little personal habitat inside that "U" for myself.  Roses, clematis and a host of other flowers and shrubs will line the interior of my personal "U" space.  Incidentally, the thuja pines will be planted three feet apart to form a solid hedge and these particular pines will reach 8 feet tall.  The ones I have planted around the edge of the property are thuja giants and they will reach 40 feet in height and also create a solid hedge.  Guess that says alot about what I think of neighbors.  But, to the point.  I water my plants and pines daily and last night while watering a newly planted thuja pine - I noticed the soil heave up and a tiny head pop up through.  It was a toad.  He was notified of rain when the water filtered through the soft soil and flooded over his soil encased body prompting him to surface to feed and drink.  
 Here's one of the rascals that shoved his way up through the soil when I poured water on the pine

 Either the water was an indicator for them that moisture was now available or they were avoiding the possibility of drowning.  Not sure which.  I think they emerged to eat as water stirs the tiny life forms that flit about green plants and that is a toad's paradise.
And the last part of this entry is about a little motorcycle ride that a friend and myself took on Sunday that bordered the Joyce Killmer Memorial Forest.
 These views are from the Cherohala Skyway that runs from Tellico Plains to Robinsville, NC.  But that isn't what this little blurb is about.  This is about a little stream that I fell in love with. 



There's not much to say about this ride on the blog because it was uneventful.  I just happen to like beautiful streams and this particular stream reminded me of some of the streams I fly fished on back in Pennsylvania.


We parked the bikes for a spell and just walked about and smelled the clean water.  This stream borders the edge of the Killmer Memorial Forest and eventually flows into Santeelah Lake.


 Is this not beautiful?  Tennessee gave up their beautiful mountain and valley streams when TVA built all the dams on all the rivers.  It was for a war effort then but it's for a healthy bottom line in the green now.  I'll never forgive the politics behind allowing these monster dams to continue to exist. 

So, that's it for tonight.  Life is a grand and I'm trying to enjoy as much of it as I can.  See ya.
Oh, almost forgot.  The flowers below were not in bloom yesterday.  We had a rain just before sunrise today and these blooms suddenly appeared.  Amazing stuff. 





















Monday, May 26, 2014

A DOG'S LIFE

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I took the dogs out yesterday after I returned from work in the afternoon for some exercise which they needed badly as did I.  These little clips indicate the height of excitement they achieve simply by going "someplace" with me in the truck.
The property above is one of my favorite properties I pass almost daily.  It is far out in the country and by itself.  Look at the climbing plants that cover the many trellises in this picture.  I've never seen a more rustic place.  I am prompted to stop the truck here every time I pass by and someday someone is going to question why I'm stopping.
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The temperature was great, the water cold and best of all there are never any people near this place on weekends, even employees so the pups can pretty much have the run of the place (supervised).  And, they had a great time.




We had a great time up there, although not a long one.  I think we stayed for about two hours but to them it was like a week.  They live for the moment.  Hope your weekend is going well.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

WOOD DUCK

Below:  The first thing I saw today at sunup
 
Summer Tanager

This holiday is upon us and I had to work yesterday and today but have tomorrow off as well as Tuesday.  I love what I do and prefer to work through this holiday as I'm doing something I love.  I briefly visited the pond where I found the otters yesterday and was amazed to find the place inhabited by wood ducks.  These elusive ducks were calling this tiny wetland home.  It's all about habitat.  Yesterday I gave you a view of the river otter.  Today I present to you one of the most beautiful ducks in the world - the Wood Duck.
I consider these pictures treasures because I've chased after this colorful little duck all over East Tennessee for the past 12 years and only ever got acceptable shots.  I never imagined I would run into this kind of good duck luck this morning when I left the house at 5:00 AM.





Can you believe this gorgeous duck is on the hunting list?   Believe it.

Wasn't he beautiful?  These stunning ducks are elusive throughout the summer months but can be seen occasionally along shorelines where wood and grasses are prevalent which make desirable habitat for these birds.  I've even seen them sitting just inside holes in the mud walls of the shoreline - always ready for a quick flight to escape.  They are indeed a treasure.
Pileated Woodpecker

 There were four of these fellows working on trees growing near the water.  Wetlands are one of the most important and valuable habitats for all wild critters, large and small, mammal and bird as well as reptile or amphibian.  Wetlands are essential to nature and must be protected at all costs.


Even this little deer was hanging near the fringe of the wetland and pond.  This area is shady and provides a comfortable hideout for all animals during the heat of day.
As I ended the morning, I drove past the eagle nest just to see.
You can see that both babies are out of the nest and moving around on the limbs.  Note the huge wing protruding around the clump of foliage to the right of the shot.  That's little brother.
And again look at the size of that wing.  It won't be long now until they leap into the unknown.
I'll probably follow this blog entry with a dog entry as I took the kids to the creek this afternoon and shot a couple movie clips.  We'll see if I can make the clips upload.  Thanks for keeping tabs on the blog and thanks for bein there.