Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A REPRIEVE FROM MUDDY DOUGLAS LAKE TO THE COOL, GREEN, MIND CANDY OF BEECH CREEK

Today was a day off and I knew the second my eyes opened this morning that I was heading up to Beech Creek and the Holston River for a get away from the mud and ugly shorelines of Douglas Lake which were getting the best of me.  I took my time getting ready to leave this morning as I was enjoying the early morning coolness and sunshine that was filtering through the hundred foot tall oaks that surround my house.  I picked up my camera case and walked out onto the porch and there she was.
Look on the ground behind the truck and the boat - just behind the tree.
She was waiting for me to let her into the truck.  These morning moments are killing me.  All she wants to do is be with me.  I can't today because I'll be on the Gheenoe for hours in the hot sun and she will be in danger of overheating.  I have to fool her back into the house, which is not easy.
My sweet, dedicated satin angel!  I don't know what I ever did to deserve her total devotion.  I'll take her on the big boat day after tomorrow and maybe I'll take her to the lake for a swim tomorrow after I get done with the morning shift.


Spring is new up here on the Holston River and Beech Creek and the rich, green grasses that line the river banks is just starting to bloom and spread out into the water channel to form it's protective habitat for all the river critters.

I'm always amazed how green everything is up here on this river.  It's the reflection of the vivid greens of the forest on the water that exemplifies the richness of the color.
 No, its not some trick with the camera or the software at home.  This is the way I see things on this river.  If I put the sun in my face, it's different.  Its nature.  I'm not going to complicate it.
I had a few sad moments when I came to a beaver dam that I wrote about last year.
 Trappers have broken the dam and trapped the beavers out.  The wetlands behind the dam are drained and nothing is left there but mud.
Look to the left of center and you'll see the mud banks that used to be under water.  Wood ducks used to swim and hide back there on that little pond, wet land but now it's gone.  

A little bit of the dam is left on the right side of the photo but the left side is washed out.  Trappers tear a hole in the dam, knowing the beavers will instantly repair it,, and set their traps under the hole.  That guarantees the beaver will step onto the leg hold trap.  A damn cowardly way to kill an animal.  It should be illegal in this day and age to use leg hold traps and I don't know why the so called professional wildlife people condone the use of them.  People who trap wildlife say that they support the ethical, humane means of taking fur-bearing animals.  There is nothing ethical about the practice of torturing a wild animal for hours upon hours before bludgeon it to death and there sure as hell isn't anything humane about it.  The sad thing about it is that these people are teaching their small children to take animals in the exact way.  I'd like to know what part of that practice trappers find satisfying and how they attach the term sportsman onto the practice of torturing wild animals.  I've asked for trappers to contact me and explain this mind set to me but none have done so.  I again would like to talk to a trapper and be informed about the ethics and human decency associated with the so called sport of holding an animal by the leg until it can be bludgeoned to death with a club.  I think maybe those same ethics could be associated to the antics that take place in slaughter houses across this nation.  I often wonder what goes through those folk's heads at lunch break.  Oh well.

 Pretty, pretty shoreline!
I pulled over under that tree above and tied the Gheenoe to a limb and read a chapter in a book.  Yes, I have a Kindle.  I heard a loud rapping and knew that a sizable woodpecker was working hard on seeking lunch.  I untied the boat and let it drift toward the racket.

And, there he was.  What a handsome fellow.  He never heard me approach and I got busy on the shutter button.
 He is a pileated woodpecker and a big one at that.  I've tried for a couple years to get a decent picture of one of these guys and today he just fell under my eye out of nowhere.  Who'd a thunk it?

 This guy is supremely beautiful!
 This was really a breathtaking moment.  These guys don't grow on trees.  I made a funny.
No sooner did I snap the last shot of the woodpecker than another sort of rare bird fell under my camera lens.
 He's a brown thrasher and I no sooner took the first shot when he turned his back side toward me and would not allow me to take anymore pictures of his front.  Oh well.




I kept my eyes open for otters and beavers, but none appeared.  I couldn't even find the bald eagles on the mountain.  The babies evidently are not old enough to leave the nest or I'd have seen an adult escorting an immature on the lake.
 Above:  turkey polt
 Above:  adult females with their young polts.
I came upon a tremendous beaver dam.  It is new this year and a big one.
 Look at the magnitude of that dam.  There is a lake behind it.
 Look at the water behind that thing.  Wow!  That is prime duck habitat.  This little pond will be totally full of wood ducks next fall, until the trappers kill these beavers.  There is no way they can miss this dam.
I wish there was some way I could curb trapping on this river for just a couple seasons at least.  The preoccupation to kill animals is an amazing force in the "sportsmen" of today.
The above shot is a terrible back lighted shot of a green heron.  It's good to see them back as I've always enjoyed studying their antics.  I'll get some better shots later on in the months to come.
 Huge carp are spawning in the shallow waters where the green grass grows.  They sure make a lot of noise.

Below:  a new kind of bird house made of PVC.  I wonder who the installer was.  Interesting idea here.


This entry wouldn't be complete without some baby pictures






I had a lot more shots but I better shut this down.  I'm learning that too many pictures probably begin to bore the reader and I don't want to do that.  Isn't it amazing how rich the river is up north in the country and how empty in comparison that Douglas and Cherokee Lakes are?  It's all about people and more people and habitat lost.  See ya.
Oh, one last thing.  A red tail hawk was carrying a big stick to his nest when some pesky crows jumped him.  The hawk had his hands, wings, full for awhile.
The hawk dropped his stick and started evasive maneuvers.
 The crows really ganged up on him.
 It all worked out and everyone went his own way in peace - sort of.