Friday, June 26, 2015

PEACE AND QUIET ON THE HOLSTON

I needed to get away from these two public nuisance lakes over here and get to someplace pristine.  Of course that would be the Holston River at Rogersville and Beech Creek.
The day was super hot and I knew that no one would be on the water, and I was right.  I will take the heat for that lone experience.
I've done a lot of work on this little boat to make it reliable and ready.   This is a 1999 Lowe 14 foot Jon Boat with a narrow beam (width).  These aren't made today in 14 foot.  The 20 horse power engine is a lot of engine for this little fella but I like it.  The boat has good manners and is capable of hauling quite a payload.  The tiller operation isn't my preferred method of getting down the water but it is what it is....
The importance of river grass as habitat can be seen as the little ducks seek shelter from prying eyes.
I eased down Beech Creek and turned left on the Holston River and headed to the mountain side where the bald eagle family resides. 

 I know that two new babies live there now and I hoped to stumble upon them.  And, I did.....

 He was chirping and chirping for his mother to bring him food.  You have to remember that this is a first year baby and he's only been out of the nest a month.  His parents are weening him away from them by taking the youngsters on daily hunts with them and teaching them how to provide for themselves.  Until they get on their own they will remain typical kids that want everything brought to them.


 This youngster is magnificent!  Of course, you didn't need me to tell you that.Ev
 Even his crown and cape of plumage is kingly ---- and he was just born....



I pulled away from the immature eagle slowly, the 4 stroke Honda engine whispering softly, and rounded a bend in the river.  All of a sudden I was face to face with an adult bald eagle that was standing on an old snag that stuck out from the shoreline.  I was on a collision course with that snag.  The eagle and I were both caught with our mouths open, staring at each other.  Then he flew.
This was the baby's mom.  She lifted off the snag and flew a few yards to a tree on the mountainside located just above her baby - the immature I just photographed.  The opportunity for good pictures was optimal.






 Look at those talons.  Nothing could escape their clutches.



The heat was stifling and I wanted to just find some shade and drink a quart of water.  I pulled over to my favorite riverbank and floated under some overhanging trees.  Ah, shade.

 The boat pushed through the low branches of a tree and a flurry of activity caused by a large group of baby wood ducks disturbed the water.  A mother wood duck was swimming toward the thick shoreline and her babies were actually running across the surface of the water, flapping their downy wings to maintain balance.
 I saw mom lead the babies up out of the water and directed them to climb the bank to the top, which they all did. Amazing.

 Then she kept to the water along the shoreline, knowing I'd follow her as she tried to lead me away from her chicks.  When she felt she had lost me, she turned and hurried up the river bank to meet her babies in the tall grass on top.


 There she goes up the hill to find her babies..



 It was a great day and I was starved.  See you next trip.