Friday, May 9, 2014

BIRDS ON THE LAKE TODAY



I was driving on Douglas Lake this morning in an area of the lake noted for its lack of wildlife but, I should know by now not to judge a book by its cover, although a book's cover is supposed to be indicative of what's between the covers.  The fishing was really off on the lake but the bird life was on.  Check out the first bird study of the morning below:
 I was talking to a fisherman in a boat and when I looked up in the trees behind his boat I saw this fellow.  The osprey was being very patient as if he wanted me to photograph him.


These raptors are magnificent to watch whether sitting or flying high in the sky.  Their aerial acrobatics are astonishing and their fishing abilities are tremendous.  They have one foe who patrols the same territory as they do and that is the bald eagle.



Just look at those piercing eyes!  Yikes!!

I went around the corner and into that little cove you see above and ran squarely into two wild turkeys.  I killed the engine and just coasted to them.  They weren't a bit the wiser about me.
 I remember saying, "hi there" to the fellow above.
 Above is the second turkey that was in the cove.
 There are some very decent wild turkey shots here for those who have never, ever seen a wild turkey in real life.

 The turkey sees me but appears confused about what to do about it.

 When in doubt as to what to do, just act dumb.
 Smile!

One thing East Tennessee has is a plethora of turkeys.  There is so much private property that harbors wildlife that the flocks grow and grow.  This is a double edged sword because as the numbers of birds increases to extraordinary numbers, the almost certainty of disease reducing the flocks is probable.  There's always some downside to go with every positive upside when dealing with wild critters who live in close proximity to humans.  The intrusion of the human element upsets the natural balance of nature's processes by eliminating predators, reducing habitat and forcing wildlife to coexist with mankind, which rarely goes well.  


Cattle and clean water do not go together, usually.  Cattle break down embankments and introduce bacteria into the water, but this is Douglas Lake.   The cows might make improvements here.  Who knows?
Mallard Duck (drake)
An unusual bump on the top of a tree limb sticking straight up from a tree high on the hillside caught my attention and I throttled back to slow down.  It just didn't look right.  I'm very happy I checked it out because that lump on the limb was a gorgeous red tail hawk.  He simply selected an odd place and way to perch.
 I'm really glad I got the 500 mm lens repaired and back on the camera.  It is making shots like this possible.  This is a magnificent bird.


I wrapped up the morning and was heading in to the boat ramp when I noticed a cute little tern that I haven't seen since last year on Cherokee, and then I only saw one.  I only see one here on Douglas Lake today.  Wonder why.  He's a common tern and he is visiting from his winter haunts in the far north.



 He is beautiful with his bright orange legs, feet and bill trimmed in black
I tried to capture these birds in flight but there were a lot of boats on the water creating wakes that rocked and rolled my boat making it impossible to shoot flying birds with this big lens.  It's just how it is over here.  I hope you enjoyed seeing these really neat birds and I'll see what turns up at Rankin (bird viewing capital of East Tennessee) next time I'm up there, which will be very soon.  See ya.