This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Fox Sparrow

I was out scouting along the Vermilion River this afternoon for the upcoming Lafayette Christmas Bird Count. This will be the first stop for my team on the count and we will get there before daylight in order to count owls. Could get barred, great-horned and eastern screech if we’re lucky. The area looks the same as last year (no new holes to fall into or downed trees to fall over in the dark). Lots of birds to see, especially white-throated sparrows. Also saw an unusually tame Cooper's hawk and (insert whoop, holler, and jump up and down here) a FOX SPARROW. This is the first one I have seen in Louisiana since 1961. No mistaking it – a very large sparrow with a rusty rump and tail and very streaky sides. One could almost think hermit thrush, but it wasn’t.

There was a raccoon foraging along the river bank in full daylight. I wonder why some do that, when almost all the others wait until dark. It has to be safer then. Could be this is water on its way to leaving the gene pool.

The river is at 3.3 today, down a little from yesterday, as predicted.

Rise and shine, Jim


Blogger Mark said...

Hi Jim!
It's me, Mark. I got your change of email address notice today and thought I'd say hello.

This is a good idea; I'll check back regularly, but doubt if I'd have the discipline to do one of these myself. I did look at your friend James' site, bayoutrails.org and got itchy paddle fingers.

The water sounds cold, as I'd expect, but the water on the ground here is solid. After a very warm autumn, we've had two significant cold snaps. The mercury has dropped to -24F at my house already, something we usually don't see here until the middle of January. Actually, It hasn't gotten that cold here for at least the past five years.

Now that you're retired, I'd still love a birdhouse sometime if you are so inclined. Paul had a great time at your place; this blog makes me nostalgic for that bayou lifestyle.

Take care and good luck with this!

December 20, 2005 3:51 PM  

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