- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 27, 2002

Here's a salute to life's great pleasures, such as the four bald eagles that mesmerized us several days ago as they romped, turned flip-flops in mid-air, cackled loudly and executed precarious aerial maneuvers in the morning wind, obviously having a marvelous time. Eagles, in case you didn't know, are in the midst of their mating season as they follow a strict set of airborne rituals. The attention that the white-headed suitors pay a comely female can be a spectacle.
If you've never seen it, look around the Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge, just below Alexandria on the Potomac River, or come down to King George County, Va., to the Caledon Wildlife Area, also hard by the shores of the Potomac, where eagles can be seen by the numbers. However, our favorite observation place because it's so close to home is the Nanjemoy Creek in Charles County.
A body could drive west on Route 6 to Route 425 and the creek's public boat launching facility on Friendship Landing Road, stand on the little fishing pier with a pair of binoculars and in no time witness aerial acrobatics by our national birds that learned naturalists say are fish eaters. But we know they also devour road kills, even the odd duck or goose here and there that was shot by a hunter and for various reasons couldn't be retrieved.
To watch my favorite birds of prey, a small boat would even be better suited because upstream of the Friendship ramp even more eagles live in tall hardwood trees along the creek's shoreline.
Yes, the Nanjemoy is special not only because of the eagles, kingfishers and waterfowl. No, if you keep your eyes open you'll see Duke Posey row an old aluminum boat to distant marsh banks to check his muskrat and raccoon traps. Posey is in his 80s, and he'll out-row "kids" half his age any day of the week.
Then, several days every week, you could make the acquaintance of Red Liverman, a local fixture, a bass-fishing man who tows a Carolina Skiff to the creek. He launches the flat-bottom boat himself, never asks for help, and is always in the company of his faithful companion, Henry, a dog of questionable ancestry.
Henry looks like a dog should: scruffy hair, strong build and eyes that say he's half college professor and half vagabond.
Henry accompanies Red on quiet fishing trips up and down the creek, where he'll intensely watch his master hook a bass or crappie now and then. While Red reels in the fish, Henry kind of acts as if he's supervising the whole undertaking. I know that all manner of discussions pass between the two when the fish bite.
The Nanjemoy also plays host to a bass-boating visitor from another county who never speaks to anybody. This gruff fellow acts as if he owns the creek, and he doesn't even live in the area. Yet, he's harmless and certainly permitted to be peculiar.
Oddballs and interesting characters provide the spice of life, and in Charles County we're overrun with that kind of seasoning. The local tourism promoters ought to use that fact to bring cash-carrying visitors into the county.
Buckmasters receives rave reviews After our article Jan. 16 on the Buckmasters organization and founder Jackie Bushman, and how Buckmasters is more than happy to take disabled or terminally ill children hunting if that is their wish, readers' comments poured into The Washington Times.
Bryan Ahern, James Beers and Bob Kane were only three among many others who were happy to see that a daily newspaper had the guts to put a deer hunting story on its front page, particularly one that featured disabled young people being granted a wish that some other charity groups no longer grant.
"Your article on the boys who went hunting brought tears to my eyes. I know exactly what those kids were thinking when they asked to go on a hunting trip with their fathers," wrote Ahern, who is a cancer survivor and a hunter.
Meanwhile, if you wish to contact the deer hunting group, check the Web at www.buckmasters.com, or write to Buckmasters, P.O. Box 244022, Montgomery, Ala. 36117.
Capital area anglers start new federation Area members of the international Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) have formed a federation apart from Maryland and Virginia state bass federations. The focus of the Nation's Capitol BASS Federation (NCBF) will center on youth, conservation, environment and community service projects and, of course, the fun of fishing. The NCBF will promote the Potomac River as one of the best fisheries in the eastern U.S.
NCBF has a Web site (nationscapitolbassfederation.org) that provides additional information on planned projects and activities.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, with 600,000 members and more than 2,800 local clubs merged into 51 federations in the U.S. and several foreign countries.
Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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