Tuesday, August 5, 2014

AS WILD AS THEY GET!

The shots for this entry were taken on the Holston River above the John Sevier Steam Plant.  I'm going to start this entry with the ending as the content supports the title of this entry, "As Wild As They Get."  The following happened at the end of the day when my friend and I were tying down the boat in preparation to leave the Beech Creek boat ramp.
We were commenting to each other about how beautiful the day was and how serene the water appeared with no one on it when we heard a loud scream or call much like a person would make if suddenly frightened.  We both looked at each other in confusion and then scanned the tree covered hillside in front of us.  The loud yell was repeated only closer this time.  Then we heard the deer running full out coming closer and closer it's hoofs making that galloping sound when thundering along at full throttle.  It stopped across from us and turned its head to view the path behind it.  Another yell or cry was made by the deer as it instantly launched forward once more only to run about 50 feet where it came to a brief stop to check its back path, yell loudly and run full tilt around the hillside at the mountain's base.  More panic yells could be heard from it as it moved quickly through the woods.  What in the world is wrong with it.  Obviously it was spooked by something but I've never in my life heard a deer make that panic cry.  Then a black flash was seen moving between trees behind some brush.  It was as if black smoke were washing down the  hillside, and it was following directly on the deer's back trail and that trail would bring the creature directly in front of us, whatever it was.  And then it appeared.

It came down to the farmer's gate and stopped behind some light brush and just stood there and stared at us.  This is not just some stray dog.  There are wild motivations driving this beast.  His eyes were intense and unyielding as he looked through us.  I stared straight into his face and he was unmoved and unflinching.

 His eyes were wild and intense and he wouldn't break off the eye contact with me.  I suddenly felt a shiver between my shoulder blades because I realized that I've never run into a situation like this with a wild critter. He wasn't looking at me with surprise on his face or freight.  I think he saw dinner and that thought sort of spooked me.  This wolf dog was wild as hell and probably came from that place as well.  Then he took a step toward me and never broke eye contact.  I envisioned him making an instant lightning fast charge at me. I pulled the .40 caliber pistol from my belt and flicked off the safety.  I was almost certain this wild thing was going to make a move at me.



He wasn't afraid of us at all but, there was no tail wagging either.  
 He wasn't a particularly large animal but he had a character about him that I didn't trust.  Notice the dog ticks on his ears and at the base of his ears.  He was covered with them.  He stopped in front of me without breaking eye contact.  What a feeling to be in front of this wild critter.  The odd thing is that I was the one who was supposed to intimidate him but instead he was doing it to me.  Then he stopped and thats when I did the most stupid thing I ever did.  Well, almost the most stupid thing.  I almost killed myself when I ran over myself with my own truck but, that's another story.
My friend took the following shots.  Yep - I love dogs and would stop a bullet for them - any of them.
I slowly stepped toward him which put him on the defensive for a change.
I tried kindness.  The animal kept looking at my friend who was now in the truck.  Then it would look at me.  I averted my eyes from direct contact with his face, but watched him closely just the same.  The pistol was still in my hand.

He suddenly got that wild, confused look on his face and I squeezed the grip of the gun tighter as I came to the realization that I made a mistake messing with this thing.  And it came closer never once breaking eye contact with me even though I was trying not to stare at his face.
Then he started to move toward me with an unrelenting slow forward movement.  I'd had enough.  I slowly moved back toward the truck which caused him to stop momentarily.  I always carry a bag of dog feed in the truck for just such emergencies and I started back to him with it.  He watched as I  opened the bag with my knife and sat the entire bag on the ground.  I backed away and he instantly walked to the food and gorged himself with it.  Whew!  We drove off slowly and left wild thing to his devises.  What a memory that encounter made!  That deer had good reason to be terrified.  This animal would probably set a pace on that deer's back trail that would eventually exhaust the deer.   In retrospect, I should have shot the wild wolf dog.  There is no place in the eastern modern world for such a critter and yet, I was amazed by him and I found myself wishing I could help him to survive.  That's just my fantasy. Survive for what?  Survive for how long?  Starvation or a bullet will find him eventually.  One or the other always does visit the really wild creatures on this planet.  I'll never forget him!!

 Beech Creek was a beautiful as ever and the wild flowers were everywhere.


You gotta love morning glories.  I have to definitely get some for my flower garden next year.
The bald eagles were perched very high up on the mountain side and it was useless to try to photograph them.  Even the 500 mm lens would not bring them close enough to make a decent picture.  They are there in the shot below:


An osprey was hovering over the water with the intent of diving down onto a fish.  He was really too far to get good shots but I think it was worth the effort anyway.





 And, in a flash he plummeted straight down toward the water at amazing speed.
His resultant collision with the water was more than impressive.
 Notice the great egret standing on the shoreline.  What did he think of all this commotion?
 He came up out of the water carrying a fish.  They rarely miss.

I won't bore you with a ton of distant osprey shots.  He simply alighted upon a bare limb on shore where he commenced to tear the fish apart in bite sized pieces and had himself a picnic. 

The cardinal flower is becoming my favorite flower in the wild.  What a gorgeous thing to see!


Dragon flies were everywhere and on everything.  I guess its their time to flourish.




 Trumpet creepers were everywhere, even in the tops of the tallest trees.


And a little water snake caught our attention.  I have to do some research on this guy as I've not seen one like this before.  They are harmless and do humanity a great service in keeping insects at bay.








I want to throw a couple other shots on this entry that I took a couple days ago.  I saw a whitetail doe feeding her baby in a field early in the morning.  I've never, ever in my life actually saw this occur.  The moment was precious and unforgettable.  
Is that not precious?
The doe suddenly saw me and bleated loudly causing the fawn to drop straight down onto the ground and remain still while the mother tried to lure me to follow her away from her baby.  She leaped higher than normal into the air to tempt me to follow her.  
What a leap!  She stopped about a hundred feet away and looked at me to see if I followed.  The fawn lay still as a rock.
Turkeys move quietly and stealthily through the brush in the fog of morning.



Kudzu anybody?
A noble bird.


Life is good here in east Tennessee - really good cause it ain't all about money.
I thought I'd put a couple pics on here of the trellis I made for the yard.  I hate the town and county I live in - despise it, so I am creating a miniature hideaway mecca on the property I own here in the country .  I'm eliminating the open yard and planting shrubs, trees and flowers of all sorts.  I built the trellis to actually have a  place where I can lounge in late at night or early in the morning.   A long privacy fence is next to totally isolate the property from the outside world.  Maybe I can then find peace here in this ridiculous county.   I tolerate a lot to protect the great job I have.


I'm lovin it!  See you later and thanks for looking in..