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.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Liquid Gems

It must be hunting season. All these people come to the river in their bright orange Mardi Gras costumes and climb into floats (in the truest sense) and drive across the river. They disappear into the forest and sometimes they make banging noises, though not very often. Yep, it must be hunting season.

Speaking of hunting, sort of, we had a visit from the people doing the Butte La Rose Christmas Bird Count today. For the uninitiated, that’s the once-a-year-at-Christmas bird count that is done all over North America, and some in Central and South America as well. The result tells scientists where the birds are and how many of them there are after migration has settled down for the year. That’s why it’s done in the winter. It’s fun to do and anyone can do it. I will take part in the Lafayette one between the holidays. The folks that came today (Mike, James, James and two Virginia visitors) managed to see and record 101 species of birds during the time they were doing the count – pretty much predawn to darkness. I guess that’s one reason why people take such an interest in birding, there is such a variety out there to see.

With all the fog the last few days, there have been interesting effects created at the river. The fog produces uncommon amounts of dew on everything that it adheres to. The spider web hanging from the dock catches your eye as it shimmers in the slightest breeze. If you enlarge that picture you get the wonderful effect of gems strung on a silver thread, as the image included here suggests.

And then there is the feather drifting on a raft of very many very small things. Again, the dew on the feather has a gemlike quality, almost like clear pearls. Reminder, click on the image to enlarge it.

Frogs. If we had been having enough rain to put some water in the ditches, etc., we would be having three species of frogs doing their best right now to spread the word that frog breeding season is open for business. But no water, no business. I have heard a couple spring peepers calling from the trees, sort of like warm up calling. No enthusiasm. We need rain, a good bit of it.

The river is at 6.5 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, falling slowly to 6.1 feet by Wednesday. The upper Mississippi is rising a little, but the Ohio, where our water mostly comes from, is falling.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger Bud Forester said...

Pretty shots, Jim.

December 17, 2006 8:49 PM  
Blogger Edward Cazayoux said...

The blow-up of the dew on the spider web is fantastic Jim. Isn't nature wonderful!

January 20, 2007 3:57 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Yeah, I thought so too. Each fiber of the web has certain diameters of droplets depending on the direction the fiber runs. And the intersections have the biggest droplets. Thanks for the comment and the kind works. Jim

January 20, 2007 10:03 PM  

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