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.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Almost Swimming

I just ran across a piece I wrote prior to starting this blog. It was done in 2005 (November 3) as an email; sent to several people on a short list. In order to get it “into the record” so to speak, I would like to post it in Riverlogue.

“Once in a while something happens that is so impressive that you just have to tell someone. Yesterday afternoon late I was down at the river catching some small bream for the cats. I looked up and something was in the water coming toward the near bank. It was about 50 feet out and obviously swimming, but not like the usual otter or beaver or nutria. Binoculars made it out to be an armadillo. Now, folk wisdom has it the they can’t swim, but in fact walk across the bottom of a waterbody if they choose to cross it. Given their current distribution, that would include the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi – very dubious accomplishments. But still, I had never seen one swim, until yesterday. For those of you who have not seen it let me say that they don’t appear to be very good at it. They cut a rather ungraceful swath through the water, kind of a waddling side to side motion ( if you can waddle in the water). Their back never quite submerges, but their head does – it comes up for a breath and then submerges for a couple of feet, and then back up. When it came to the bank it just kept right on going like the whole thing had been a walk on dry land. One wonders what the incentive might be for such an ill-equipped animal to do this. The distance it swam was about 400 feet.”

The river is at 15.5 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, falling slowly for the next few days and then more quickly for the next several weeks. It finally looks like the Ohio and Mississippi have decided to act right for the season and quit setting high water fall records that have not been seen for a long time. Of course, a few big storms in Ohio could change all that.

Rise and Shine,