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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Eagles and Alligators

I grew up in the Atchafalaya Basin when there were no eagles and virtually no alligators (or beavers, come to think of it). A lot has changed in 47 years – since I was 20. I am reminded of this today because this morning I attended a meeting to plan the first annual Eagle Expo in Morgan City. There are now so many eagles nesting in Louisiana, apparently successfully, that a small festival can be held to celebrate them. What a wonderful way to note the passage of time, to see a species return to its original range. On the way to the meeting I saw an adult eagle at Lake Fausse Point (also the site of the most recent noting of a cougar two years ago, another returning species?) And I have seen eagles three times over the river at Butte La Rose since November. One of these times one of them pestered an osprey so much that the osprey handed its fish to the eagle, which accepted the fish and flew away over the swamp. The osprey followed a little, but soon gave up. Our national emblem, a bully and a thief.

Alligators are back too. Last year one took to sunning on the raft connected to my dock. It’s only about four feet long so I don’t worry about the cats too much. But I guess the cats better worry a little. This year two ten-footers were caught under the I-10 bridge, and that’s only about a mile away. My grandkids have reservations about swimming in the river, but we do it anyway. On warm summer nights you can travel on the river and see A LOT of alligators along the banks, and they keep me company around the boat when I run my trotline at night. Yep, there were none and now they’re back. It’s good to see.

The frog is a female green treefrog that lives on the dock in a five gallon bucket. Cheap digital cameras can sure do wonderful things!

The river is still very low. It’s 2.8 today at the Butte La Rose gauge. The tide moves it up and down six to eight inches these days. The Mississippi is rising a little, but the Ohio is falling. So, still no water.

Rise and shine, Jim


Blogger James said...

Wow! I had no idea there was an alligator shortage back then. Paula and I went to Burns Point the other day, and in the little bayous to the north of the state park we must have seen seven or eight sunning themselves.

January 13, 2006 10:42 AM  
Blogger Bud Forester said...

You posted about cormorants, too. I remember before the DDT ban, those were just picture- book animals. I have learned that they realy do exist; now they are fairly common and I'm grateful.

January 18, 2006 7:25 PM  

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