Congratulations Poverty Point

Image #120327_0102-3-4 Mound A is the largest at Poverty Point.

Louisiana’s Poverty Point has been named as a World Heritage site, quite an honor for this fascinating historical park.  It joins Machu Picchu, the Pyramids and the Grand Canyon among other gems around the world with this special designation.  Poverty Point is the 22nd such honor in the United States. 

I have had the opportunity to photograph there numerous times, even at night.  Quite peaceful for it is hidden off major highways in rural West Carroll Parish. You can listen to nature’s night sounds as the planet rotates making the stars appear to move.  Just like I suspect the Indian hunter-gathers and traders did 3000 years ago. There are not many places left you can imagine yourself sitting in nature as did these ancient people.

Image #120328_0203 Stars glow peacefully above Mound A.

Significant is the fact that 2,000 people lived here for about 600 years without agriculture.  They lived off the land by hunting, fishing and gathering.  There are not that many places in the world where that can happen for so many people and for so long of time.  It proves what a rich environment Louisiana has. Bayou Macon had fish of many kinds, turtles, alligators and mussels.  Deer, squirrels and other game were numerous in the surrounding swamps and forest.  Birds such as wintering waterfowl provided more food and if there were any vegetarians the varied landscapes had all kinds of nuts, berries, and other editable plants.  The earthworks are impressive and extensive.  State archeologists have figured it took 5 million hours to build then all.  The largest is Mound A and it is shaped like a flying bird. Go visit this special place.


Two for One

What a great day yesterday! Sunshine, blue skies and enough clouds near dark for a great sunset. Best of all I photographed two state emblems in one shot. You can see in my Louisiana Nature Guide thirteen pictures of all the state animals, plants and minerals. In the swamp yesterday, Sue spotted a southern magnolia tree growing right out of a bald cypress. One is the state flower and the other the state tree. Pretty neat. Enjoy the spring it is busting out in South Louisiana! 


Heading North

Image 140210-033.jpg American Coots take flight

Watching a flock of American Coots take off from Bayou Copasaw in the Terrebonne Parish marsh yesterday made me wonder if the birds were thinking it's time to go north and find their nesting grounds. Those chunky black birds use churning feet and short wings to take off the water like a turbo prop plane on a runway. They need to think twice before flying away, we got another cold snap here, and it's still icy up north!

I had the shivers in the damp cold yesterday even when it peaked to 70 degrees. We were traveling at 30 mph in Steve Uffman’s bay boat over water that was 48 degrees, burrrrr!


Snow and Goldfinches

Sunshine or snow, the goldfinches and other winter birds love my feeders. The birds have been voracious in this cold and icy weather. These colorful feathered friends are the perfect subject to try out my new GoPro camera with, especially with its Wi-Fi hotspot hooked up to my iPad. Gosh its nice sitting in the kitchen drinking hot tea as the temperature was slowly climbing toward 30 degrees while clicking the shutter remotely.

Image #140126-0029 Goldfinches feed before the snow on 1/26/14

The GoPro camera uses a super wide-angle lens to capture close up action images of surfers, skiers and mountain bikers, so it makes kind of distorted view of my feeders. The new device will have some practical uses in my new book project concerning Louisiana Landscapes and other natural subjects. I will be launching a blog about this project soon.

Image #140130-0400 Goldfinches on a morning of snow 1/30/14

In this cold weather I am having a greater variety of species at the feeders. Some like the blue jay, red-bellied woodpecker and white-throated sparrows rarely come. The last few days they too were hungry for my feeder's seed. When the yard was totally white, seven male cardinals in their bright red coats decorated the white and gray landscape with vibrant colors. I once read that the state of Maine uses more birdseed per person than any other state. I can see why, they need a little color in their long white winters.

Image #140128-0364 Cardinal and sparrows feed in the snow 1/28/14



Image 111017_0449.jpg Ripe Pumpkins on the Vine, Nelson County, VA

Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays, but not craving a big bag of free candy like I did when I was a kid has dropped a few notches.  These days I count Thanksgiving as a favorite day for when family and friends get together with good food.  This unofficial "Pumpkin Day" is good for another reason here in the south; fall is finally here to stay.  Look at today, cold and clear, and I am packing up the boat and heading for the Atchafalaya.  The eagles are back and there could be a few alligators catching the sunshine on the bayou banks.


2000 Bags

Last Saturday was a milestone for I put the 2,000th bag of grass clippings in the Big Hole. Since my blog of 6/18/2012 I have named the newly formed land Spring Creek Delta and it is growing to the edge of the bluff above Spring Creek.  So far I have created 900 square feet of new flat land, always sinking and subsiding, but there are no levees to disrupt the source of sediment.  The soil supply which is these bags of leaves and grass clippings seems to be endless.  And I am are saving them from the Baton Rouge landfill.

Image #130907-0248 Last Saturday with the 2,000th Bag

The view is great and the land is solid. The new soil has been used by numerous species of wildlife.  Check out my blog of 7/20/12 which discusses my remote night camera to see some of those animals.

Image #110813_0014 Near the Beginning with Only 36 Bags Put In

Last week I brought out a camp chair and started writing. The point of the project, other than saving bags of organic material from the landfill, is to have a special place to write. It worked, I feel inspired here and there are bonuses such as the coyote that walked within 40 ft of me as I sat still. It bounded down the bluff to the creek then chased a grey squirrel up the other bank. I imagine I will see lots of critters here over the next few years.

Kind of a crazy project, but its good.


Dreaming of Fall

Blue Skies over the Mississippi River

Fall is in the air, yet I hate to speak so soon as I doubt anybody is turning their air conditioners off in the next few days. I see, smell and feel the signs of autumn though.  On Labor Day I took a Mississippi River boating trip, the skies were a deep blue, an indication of fall in difference to the dull whitish blue of our southern summer skies.  You know, hot and hazy.

We saw a bald eagle, might be a resident but a good chance he is coming back for nesting season. Later two big flocks of teal were flying downstream, darting around in their tight formations. Last week at Lake Martin there was a tinge of rusty red in the bald cypress. Maybe it will be a good year for fall colors. That bodes well for me because I am starting a new book on Louisiana landscapes.  Good fall colors will be beautiful, important and photogenic for the project.  Other signs are the French mulberry in bloom, the muscadines dropping their red fruits and the sugar cane taller than a six-foot person. Finally, just a few days ago my hummingbird feeders went from one or two birds to fifteen, this happens every year just before they migrate to South America.

We've got 17 more days before autumn equinox and a lot of hot days left, but I feel it in my bones the change is coming.