Saturday, June 7, 2014

AN UNHURRIED DAY AND A JUVENILE LOON

 Osprey

Sometimes when I'm on the big bay areas of Douglas Lake I become more relaxed than normal, especially when there is a definite lack of fishing boats, as there was today.
The big bay boat is 22 feet long and is really an ocean boat but serves well on these big lakes when the wind is up.  Its designed to stand up and steer while leaning against the tall bench seat.  Sometimes, when things are calm, I'll sit and sort of let the boat have her way with the water with little input from me.  Today was such a day.
I realize that special, unique photo opportunities are rare on these two lakes over here, Douglas and Cherokee, but one has to stay awake and aware of the surroundings just in case.
I approached a long cove adjacent to the main bay and turned in as there usually is a fishing boat anchored toward the back of the little cove.  I call this cove Heron Cove due to the large quantity of green herons who reside there.
The herons are gone when winter approaches but they reliably return each spring somewhere around April.  They've never let me down yet.

The wind was up and I couldn't hold the camera steady.  No matter as I had to be on my way down the lake as it is a long run on today's schedule.  The little scamp flew when I touched off the engine.  These herons add cheer to an otherwise dull day with their antics.

I pointed the boat toward the mouth of the cove and shot through the opening and onto open water enjoying the exhilarating sensation of speed and fresh, clean, cool air blowing through my hair, the hat long ago put away.
 My eyes are trained well and I miss very little in the way of beauty on the lake.  Wildlife is my supreme pleasure but beautiful scenery is an accent on the day I would never turn a cold shoulder to.
And what would life be like without these gorgeous animals that so often are taken for granted and considered interlopers and invaders on property.  What a shallow opinion of wildlife some folks proclaim and the extremes they will go to in order to dislodge them from their property and sight!  I'll never understand the cruel hand of man and the little consideration offered to those wild entities we have pledged to protect.  Never.
I noticed the little gray duck paddling near the shoreline with his head under water and I couldn't identify it from this distance.  He was going my direction so I eased over toward him.
He was just cruising along with his face straight down in the water as if snorkeling. 

I could see it was a loon but he lacked the usual uneasiness that loons portray when boats are close.  The markings indicated it was a female and yet the patterns still didn't match those of a female.

 The brown pattern on his head and back is what I'd describe as course without concentric lines, unlike an adult female.  
 Due to the time of year and this bird's reluctance to flea, I'd say its a juvenile american loon.  The month is right to see a juvenile but I don't know if he was born here in Tennessee or recently migrated down here with friends from the north.  I'm not well read on loons but am trying.  Nevertheless, he is an unusual find and I'm happy to add him to my collection of bird photos and as I pulled away I turned and watched him become smaller and smaller until he finally disappeared ----- and I wished him good luck.
And finally, it seems that everything is for sale in East Tennessee especially if its shoreline.  The sign below is accurate only during summer months.  If this sign remains up in the late fall it will be false advertising as the water will be about seventy feet below the sign and the sign will be sitting on a wall of sticky, wet, brown, ugly mud.  The sign is a lie.  And I got a tomato farm for sale in Death Valley, Nevada.