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.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Gray Day

It was, it was a gray day today. It was warm, warmer than the river is. And the mist rose from the water all day. It was never thick, just wisps of mist that floated over the water, sometimes rising in thin arms of wet, thick air, and then descending again to rest near the surface of the river. The current is pretty swift right now, but the water just slid by under the mist – not carrying it along like you might believe it would, if they were connected. They are both water but the two phases seem not to know each other, even though the coolness of the water gives rise to the mist. It is a friendly thing to do, to watch the mist rise from the river.

Today one of the fox squirrels in our yard died. Not by my hand, but by the strong talons of a hawk. I did not see it happen, but looking out of my window I saw the hawk sitting in a tree at the river. It was just sitting there, not a thing done by red-tailed hawks in our yard very often. Once in a while they will rest in our trees, but always in big ones, not small trees. This one was in a small tree. I got out the binoculars and watched him for a while. I could see that he had something in his right foot. It was rusty orange colored and had to be a fox squirrel. The hawk had consumed some of it, the red color showed on the squirrel. After some time, the hawk was joined by another one and they flew off across the river together. I was a little surprised that the hawk seemed to have no easy time carrying the squirrel. Instead of climbing gracefully the bird started from this side and landed somewhat lower on the other side. It appeared to be laboring as it flew. Must have been a very heavy squirrel.

The river is at 11.9 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, rising to 12.4 feet by Wednesday. The Ohio and Mississippi are both rising all the way up, and more rain is falling there now. I had to reconfigure the dock and raft today to prepare them for a high water season, whether we get one or not. Can’t take the chance. In high water you have to get out of the current and setting the raft and dock end-to-end is necessary to do that.

Rise and Shine, Jim


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