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, October 15, 2006

Boatriding Birds

If you left our house in a boat tomorrow and traveled south and then north for a total of about 5000 miles you would end up somewhere near San Diego. We just finished doing that in reverse – from San Diego, through the Panama Canal and ending in Florida (near enough for our purposes here). We spent the last day of the trip on Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas - picture at left. That is one long trip by water, but an exciting one courtesy of Holland America Cruise Lines. I’m just putting this in to mark our return to the wonderful Atchafalaya River. I was very pleased to find that the river didn’t do that out-of-season seven foot rise that was predicted for it last week. It did come up about four feet, but that didn’t do any harm to the dock aside from floating several trees up against it. I’ll work those free tomorrow. It’s good to be back.

One interesting Louisiana-related thing that happened is that a peregrine falcon sort of adopted the ship about 100 miles north of Colombia as we headed back north (click on the picture to enlarge it). This could very well have been a falcon that left Louisiana a week or so ago, headed for South America. Instead of reaching South America, it stayed with the ship (no doubt eating the other birds that constantly used the ship for a rest stop) all the way back to Florida. In other words it flew about 2000 miles south over water only to hitch a ride with the ship back north for 2000 miles. It ended about where it started before heading south in the first place. This was also true of some of the small warblers that stayed with the ship for a day or two. They flew almost to South America, only to ride the ship back north for however long they stayed on it. Odd.

Said river is at 3.9 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, and will stay about the same for the next five days. The Mississippi is falling all the way up but the Ohio is rising, probably due to that unseasonable snow they had a couple of days ago.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger Randy said...

Welcome back. Just curious, did you test the salinity of the water down yonder? I always like to kid your once DEQ co-worker, Dugan, on the accuracy of his salt-o-meter in determining water salinity. He claims it to be very accurate. Although I have no way to know for sure, I like to give him a rough time on his assessment.

October 18, 2006 3:00 PM  

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