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.

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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.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I am working with some bones from my archaeological reference collection right now. Napoleon hopped up on the table and acted like he could tell there was something animal-like in all the containers in front of him. The disarticulated skeletons of ten different mammals are in the containers, and most of them have been disarticulated for 20 years. Is it possible that he can still pick up some clue about what they were when they were alive? He acts like he can.

The bones are used to help identify animals that Native Americans used for food in the Atchafalaya Basin many centuries ago. It’s kind of like a puzzle, being able to find just one end of one bone, then compare it to the reference collection and being able to identify the animal as a beaver, or otter, or deer, and then being able to calculate the relative importance of that animal in the diet of those folks who lived here so long ago. Studies I have done in the past seem to show that deer and garfish were two of the important animals in this respect.

The fish in the tub are some my friend and son-in-law Danny and I caught last fall. There was a little bit of lots of things, as can be seen. Napoleon likes catfish; he wasn’t impressed with the fish with scales. I think he dislikes the scales in his mouth.

The river is at 3.4 on the Butte La Rose gauge and will stay there for a few days. It looks like low water is with us until the cycle shifts to higher water again next winter/spring. The Mississippi and Ohio are settled down to a long summer’s lazy pattern of little rises and falls.

Rise and Shine, Jim


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