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.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Passing Gator

Sunrise on the Atchafalaya the morning of June 21, the Summer Solstice. Despite Hollywood claims, this is The Longest Day, of this calendar year anyway. According to the ancient observances, this marks the rapid growth phase of all the things we planted this spring. This includes the ideas and encouragements that we began on the Winter Solstice – time to take stock of how we are doing on the year we planned for ourselves.

Napoleon, looking down off of the deck, ten feet above the rustlings and flittings in the brush below him. Kind of scary to be a mouse or bird or whatever down there being evaluated by a predator like that. A leopard would be doing the same thing in Africa, and the rustlings might be made by us.

A large gator swam up the river three days ago. I was sitting on the dock and happened to turn and look back and saw him coming up the river, angling toward the dock ever so slightly. He was about 50 yards away when I saw him. He didn’t seem to be very alert to the danger presented by humans. When I moved to get the camera, instead of instantly submerging and swimming away, he just angled away, but kept going upriver slowly. As I watched him he got further and further away upriver and finally I gave up and walked back to the house. That’s him as he passed the dock beyond Alcibiades. I estimated him at six feet and remarked to Carolyn that this was bigger than you usually see around here. I came down that night and could see his eyes up against the bank about 200 yards above our place.

This morning I came down to the river and this is where he was, very dead and floating high and stuck under our dock. He was a lot bigger than I thought, at least nine feet long. He must have been hanging around, a little too fearless, and someone with a deer rifle did him in. Too bad, but I am glad that he isn't around. He would catch an unwary Napoleon for sure. And then there are those recent stories from Florida.

The river is at 3.0 on the Butte La Rose gauge, falling to 2.0 by Friday. Man, that's low. the Mississippi and Ohio are still slowly falling.

Rise and Shine, Jim


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