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.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Bright Moon

The cold front last night came howling through and the wind stayed howling all day today. Not often you see whitecaps on the river, but they were there today.

Nice moon tonight, almost full. Tomorrow it will be full. Watching the full moon rise over the river is kind of awesome – even more so during spring when you can set up a spotting scope and focus it on the full moon while you lay back on a lounge and watch the show. The show is the night migration of birds flying back from South America, Mexico, etc. You can actually see the flocks in the scope as they cross the moon, and by taking one of the craters as a standard, you can come up with some approximation of the size of the birds – and therefore place them into categories of a sort. If you know enough about the flight pattern of different types of birds, you can identify groups in that way too. You can identify larger birds like herons and hawks, and flocks of smaller ones like shorebirds, not the individuals of course, but the general types. This is fun and keeps you off the street, I guess. I like it.

Talked to a crawfish buyer today and she told me the ponds are suffering from the low water table. Too bad, the warm weather would have been good for the crawfish growth rate. She told me that she sells pogies (menhaden) individually frozen and shad frozen in a big block. The pogies might be good cut bait for the trotline in this clear river water, if they stay firm after defrosting.

The river is at 3.1 feet at the Butte La Rose gauge today, and it’s rising slowly. Good thing, because if it wasn’t, the north winds of today would have blown all the water out. The Mississippi is rising a little, but the Ohio is falling so no good rises for a while yet.

Rise and shine, Jim


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