Sunday, May 17, 2015

THE BLACK CROWNED NIGHT HERON

I've been looking for these guys all Spring and now they've finally appeared.  They were deep in island coves on Cherokee Lake this morning.  I think they've been around for a long time but have kept to cover due to the heat of day.  This morning, however, I was on the water just before the sun arose and I caught them at their breakfast time.  I might add that it was raining fairly hard too.  I love rain.


It was still dark and raining hard as I made my way along Lake Shore Drive.  The little skunk sat immobile in the center of my lane as the wheels that carried the 3000 pound critter crusher passed safely on each side of him.  He blended into the darkness of the asphalt so perfectly that the truck's manufactured daylight could not make his presence obvious.




I left home at 5 AM this morning to avoid Sunday traffic on the way to the lake and now I wait patiently for the sun to rise as I frequently do on weekends because weekends are crowded at boat ramps and I like to avoid that chaos.  


The navigation lights are inoperative on the old jon boat that I'm using today and I've learned to simply wait until daylight to launch.  I find electric circuit testing boring and have created all sorts of reasons not to spend time fixing the lights.
A guy walks toward my truck in the pitch dark and I watch his outline intently as he approaches my window.  I remember thinking, "the nerve to do that!"
"Hey buddy", he says.  "I got a quick question for ya".
Its always that way with these folks and it seems the questions are never quick and the answers even more complicated than the question.  But, I respond in a friendly, professional manner even though a synapse moving faster than light through my brain electrifies the bulge of gray matter containing sarcastic neurons making me want to reply, "I ain't your buddy".  The little positive gremlin sitting on my right shoulder screamed in my ear, "don't say it, don't say it" while the irritating little rascal sitting on my left shoulder said, "go ahead and say it!"   He turned out to be a nice guy and we had a nice discussion as we waited for the sun to arise.
 Notice the long white, trailing line of straight plumage coming from the back of the neck and falling down his back.  This bird is striking!  
The boat cruised along the shoreline at a speed little more than idle and I found my eyes riveted to a jagged rock that stood a full three feet out of the water well in front of me.  I couldn't seem to avert my eyes from the water menace no matter how hard I tried.  
I could smell the sweetness of rain in the air which always appeared around noon, and it fell in torrents on a daily basis.  It always rained this time of year.  Always, and with a vengeance.  A fog arose from the jungle floor that created a mysterious world of inexact sights and sounds that only slightly opened the adrenalin valve.  A sudden crash off to the right during the chaotic rain indicated that a tree had just fallen and the M14 rifle swung in that direction, the safety clicked off, and waited in ready as my left hand wiped the water off my face.  The monsoon rain was falling so hard it would be impossible to hear anyone's approach  More branches could be heard falling to the ground somewhere in the same direction, out there behind the fog, or was it something else?

The boat floated past the jagged rock and entered the mouth of a deep cove.  I held my arms straight out left and right and stretched the muscles in my back while tilting my head up to feel the early morning sun on my face.  Feels good to have made it.  Feels good to be alive.  48 years was a long time ago and yet it seems like yesterday.
 And yes, back lighted as usual and even rain striking the lens - an immature bald eagle.  
 The quality is terrible but I added him to my photo collection.  I had to shoot straight into the falling rain to get these shots only to end up with sub par photos.  Oh well.  Its only a blog.....


This entry had a bit of a different twist to it and I hoped you liked something different for a change.  Thanks for looking in.  I appreciate it....