Sunday, May 18, 2014

ENORMOUS MINK

I wish she wouldn't do this as it really makes me feel sad for her and guilty for me. She even knows what truck I'm taking by how  I'm dressed.  Amazing!
I spent a half hour waiting for her to give up on going with me and the promise of a treat finally pulled her back inside the house.  I hate myself for tricking her like this but its all I can do.  I make it up to her when I get back though.  I need to be on the water solid for the entire morning so that I can cover the whole river and I need to be able to move around on the boat freely to take pictures.  It is necessary to be able to creep silently up on beavers, otters and coyotes without having Shade barking at them.  Its true that she would rather be with me than anywhere and I'm honored with that dedication but sometimes there just isn't room or time for her.  That's why I like to dedicate time alone for and with her.  She would get her time this afternoon when I get back..


 It was good to see the little green heron on Beech Creek at the Holston River as they have been away from the water since late fall.  This guy is tiny compared to the heron I photographed on Douglas Lake a couple days ago.


 I drove past the new beaver dam to see how things were going.  The water behind the dam was full of ducks and geese.  Beaver dams create wonderful wet lands that benefit all creatures and this beaver dam is the best I've ever seen.  This guy knows his stuff.

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There used to be a beaver dam in the shot above but trappers took the beaver over last winter and I watched as the rise and fall of the river slowly took the dam away.  This is a real shame and should be a crime.  These beaver are hurting nothing out here and yet they are persecuted for their fur.  Are humans that damn broke they have to trap?  How bout getting a job.  Don't get me started...
 The scenery is gorgeous up here on the Holston River.


Eastern Bluebird
Turtles were coming out mid morning as it was cold at sun up.
 The guy below is a big fellow
If you ever go to the river or lake, keep an eye open for the sandpipers - spotted sandpiper to be exact.  These tiny birds are very interesting to watch as they bob their necks as they walk.  



I have seen these little fellows walk across a rock and down the other side straight into the water and back up the rock again.



 They like to hang out on old longs along the water as well as moss covered rocks near water.  Sandy shorelines seem to be preferred to mud for some reason.  

Yep;  you read right.  I named the Gheenoe "Otter Chase" when I got her because I was infatuated and intrigued by otters more than by any other critter in the state.
She lived up to her name today.  Almost.
The issue is that this is not an otter.  It is a mink and a giant mink at that.
I uploaded an otter's face shown below.  The beast today was a mink.


This guy was sunning himself in the tall grass and I floated past him with the engine off and had to use the electric motor to pull the Gheenoe back up the shoreline to where I saw him.  He is spectacular!  So large!

 He didn't stay long but I clicked off a slew of pictures.  He is beautiful
 
I shot picture after picture of this guy all the time thinking he was an otter.  Then it hit me he wasn't an otter but a mink - an enormous mink.  He is as large as a young otter.  Wow!  The size of him.  I can't believe this.  I saw another very small mink near the same place after I got done with this monster.  I won't even hint where I saw them.

This is one of the most beautiful bodies of water I've seen in East Tennessee and I could have lived here had I not been so quick to buy the property I live on now.  That's a shame I can not correct at this point in my life.
This is called a western skink and they are all over the south and probably the north.  I think I remember seeing them in Pennsylvania a time or two.
 They move as fast a lightning and are active in the daylight as well as night.  They scamper across logs and wooden fences at breakneck speed almost faster than the eye can follow.
If you see one it's best to just look at it and not touch as they are delicate.  Their tails will break off if they are picked up by the tail.  Of course another tail will grow.  The skink has evolved in this way to protect himself from birds who will pick him up by grabbing his tail.  Skinks are very beneficial and are harmless.  Please allow them to go their way in peace.
 I ran down river to the new beaver dam to inspect it more thoroughly and I'm impressed at the perfect design.  There is even a spillway for the excess water to flow over without going over the entire length of the dam.  Quite a piece of engineering.
 That dam is holding back an enormous back water.
The wind is up and its noon and time to hit the road and get back to take the dogs out to the woods for awhile.


TIME FOR MY GIRLS
I unhitched the Gheenoe as fast as possible and threw the pups onto the front seat and headed up to Buffalo Springs.
 I took them down along the creek where a sort of pump house sits and the creek flows over a little water fall.  I've had Shade here many times but never Happy or Chestnut.


 They ran hard and investigated everything and all were elated when they found the waterfall, especially Shade..


 Chestnut is going crazy with joy here.  This spot has it all - cold, clear water, tall green grass, woods and thickets and meadows.  It's perfect for dogs.
 Happy is in the shot below.  I wondered where she was.



 But, Shade was in dog paradise
 Chestnut hound wasn't doing too bad either.





 I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Chestnut hound swimming with Shade.  Gotta remember that she is a hound dog and not a water dog.  I guess Shade has set an example for Chestnut.  Look at Chestnut coming across that pond beside Shade.  I didn't know what to expect when I watched them swimming through all that floating moss and plant-life.  I'm talking about aroma.  Turned out the water was clean and cold and they smelled like they just had a bath - sort of.
I tossed them back into the truck and drove up the road to where the forested section of the WMA is and let them run some more.  I sat down and just looked about.  Have you ever looked about - really?  I stood up and slowly walked along the edge of the woods and meadow, just looking and seeing.



Common everyday sights suddenly become very unique and beautiful.  They've been there all along but we just don't slow down to really see them.
The next two photos remind me of the word elegance.

And, just look at the flower below:  It seem artificial - its perfection totally complete.  Where did this posy come from?


 Don't ask me what it is.  Appears to be made of wax and I've never seen anything like it in my life.
It is indeed amazing what one can see if one simply looks.  The most simple plant becomes beautiful if one allows the mind to wander off track just a little bit.


Alright, I'll end this nonsense and post this entry.  It's been a full, enjoyable day for me and I'm already wanting to see what I'll discover tomorrow.  I appreciate you dropping by to read the blog.  Please stay tuned.  See ya.