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, April 19, 2006

Thrushes in Feliciana

Last year when the Mississippi kites decided to nest in the big gum tree near the river, I caught this picture in the fog early one morning. The silhouette is haunting, I think. It reminds you of a kite, without showing you one.

I got to walk around in the mixed pine/hardwood forests of the Felicianas this morning. What a beautiful forest! The purpose of the trip was to experience a turkey hunt from the point of view of a camera lens. The camera was ready, the turkeys were not. We did see one hen and she talked to us and came in close enough for me to get a really good look. She got a good look too, apparently, and took off running faster than I thought a turkey could run. And then she took off and blasted her way through pine limbs to get above the trees. What a noise! Earlier, at daylight, as we walked through the woods we were surrounded by a nice array of singing birds, a very nice array. Without really concentrating on it, I could pick out 32 species from sound alone within 30 minutes of sunrise. Of particular note was the large number of wood thrushes – at any one time there seemed to be at least ten calling from close around us, their song so melodious that you think someone is playing a flute behind each tree. Summer tanagers almost equaled the thrushes in numbers, but their calls are so muted that you have to pay attention to notice them. There should have been frogs calling all over the woods, but a few lonely bronze frogs calling from the little pools of a small creek were the only frog sounds being made. It is so very dry. There are supposed to be good numbers of timber rattlesnakes in that area but one medium-sized water moccasin was the only snake we saw. Getting to see a big rattlesnake would have been a nice bonus. Yep, a good morning in the Felicianas. Thank you, Gary.

This afternoon Carolyn and I fished a little more and caught two cats, three nice gous, and a couple short nose gars. Those things can be a pest when they get started. Napoleon and Alcibiades shared a small catfish. And I finally got my tomato and cantaloupe plants planted. It HAS to rain soon, doesn’t’ it?

The river is at 6.5 on the Butte La Rose gauge, and will stay about the same for the next five days. The Ohio is rising again, about 1 foot/day, and that may hold some water in the Mississippi for the next week or so, may even give us a little rise. That’s a good thing. Crawfish are down to about 2.50/lb boiled in the Felicianas. Still,….

Rise and Shine, Jim


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