Saturday, May 24, 2014

OTTERCHASE ----- OTTERFOUND

What a fantastic morning and day!  I was up and going at 5:00 AM and haven't stopped since.  Today was a river day and I was looking forward to it since the three days straight on Douglas Lake.  The holiday is sort of a downer due to all the people using the lakes, rivers and everything in-between but I'd get over it.  Ask me if I got over it when Monday gets here.

This entry highlights and focuses on the North American River Otter.  Yes, I turned up a couple otters today and got some sensational photographs that are posted below. 
  Actually I had a lot of photo opportunities occur and I tried my best to take advantage of all of them but it's hard to do when cars are pushing me down the road.  I'm not going slow or anything but it seems everyone else is in a tremendous rush.  I pulled off the highway four times this morning to let vehicles pass me.  The last draw was when a junk pickup passed me on a curvy back road on the double yellow and I was going 50 miles per hour.  I turned onto the most back woods, nowhere, roads I could find that hugged the river.  It's nuts over here in this part of East Tennessee.
The above shot was taken down at Indian Cave on the mountain adjacent to the cave at sun up.  I thought it was a really peaceful picture.
I can't go to the Indian Cave river access point without looking in on PeeWee.  That wolf dog face represents everything that's left wild in Tennessee.  I think about this dog frequently when I'm at home - her face haunts me.
 I'm not sure if she is what I'm afraid of when I have a bad dream or if she is in my dreams to chase away the bad things I sometimes dream about.
 It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that may be so but, these pictures of this powerful, gorgeous canine don't do her justice.  She is mild and sweet but anybody who looks into her wild eyes knows not to make a move to cross her.  Love ya PeeWee.
 I'm not going to say where I saw the otters for obvious reasons.  There are elements out there who can't be trusted with such information as they seem unable to resist killing critters just for the sake of doing it.  Senseless!  But this entry isn't meant to be a rant.  It's meant to present to you a very noble river animal that has been trapped into oblivion earlier in this century and only recently has been reintroduced into the wilds here in Tennessee.  The North American River Otter is indigenous to Tennessee and has lived here long before humans decided to eliminate it for it's pelts.  Oops.  sorry.   I've been trying to get some great shots of this critter for years and even named my little river boat "Otterchase" in honor of otters,  and today shined a bit of luck upon me.  There are quite a few pictures but what the heck.  How often do you get to see a river otter?  That being said, I give you the North American River Otter and I hope you enjoy. 

I noticed a large ripple moving across the water and suspected a beaver or maybe a muskrat was moving along the floating wood and moss.


 As you can see it turned out to be a beautiful river otter.  He was gorgeous and shiny as he porposed across the surface.  I was delighted when he came near to the shoreline I was standing upon.
 He quickly dove under the surface and re emerged a few yards away looking directly at me and huffing and puffing sounding almost like a dog.  He saw my light colored shirt and was trying to make me move.
I just held still holding the camera against my face and didn't move an inch.
 He knew I didn't belong in the scene and raised himself up out of the water to have a better look.  I was biting my lower lip not to laugh out loud.
I saw three otters in all, one a small one.

This otter is most curious as he can see my tan colored shirt behind the green foliage.
He kept huffing and barking but finally decided everything was alright and climbed out of the water and laid down on a log.





Look how sleek he is, perfectly suited for moving through the water at speed.  He calmly rested there on that log.

You are looking at a critter that not many are privileged to see accept maybe in a zoo, heaven forbid!  I've never seen one in Pennsylvania in all the years I've lived there.  Does the word trapper mean anything to you?
He shakes water off his coat the same way as a dog would.  Look closely below:
He finally stretches out on his log and closes his eyes.
He is handsome in the shot below:

 He kept raising his head every few seconds and then lay back down to rest.

  
Only a couple shots left.  I can't believe I've had this opportunity.





And there you have it - the North American River Otter.
And there he was, crawling slowly toward the river across a wide meadow.  Why was he out there there?  The common snapping turtle.

 What was he doing out here in the middle of this field?
 I stayed until he crossed the field and entered the river.  I feel like a mother out here sometimes.
 That brings me to the eagles.  Both babies are well and both of them were out on the tree limbs this morning.  It won't be long until they will be soaring with their parents.  I only took this one shot as It's useless to try for decent photos with that white background.  There will be better conditions in the future.  

That's it for today.  The otters were special and I hope you found them interesting to look at.  Have a great holiday.