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Tiger Owls

Bayou-Diversity (30 December 2018) At the very mouth of the Mississippi River there is a small island that once served as the headquarters of Delta National Wildlife Refuge. A surplus fire tower was erected on the site in order that the wardens might watch for poachers in the vast flounder-flat marshes of the delta. A friend who worked there once told me that for several years the tower was deemed unsafe and off-limits for a couple of months each winter. It wasn't because of high winds or lightning storms that the 100' tower was condemned but rather the presence of birds that some people called Tiger Owls. This backwoods moniker was attached to great horned owls by people knowledgeable

Bayous

Bayou-Diversity (23 December 2018) Visitors to Louisiana are often perplexed by the peculiar terms we use to describe our waterways and other natural features. One of the most common questions asked by these naïve outsiders is, “What is a bayou?” The word is ubiquitous here; after all this is the bayou state. The confusion is understandable as at least one of every type of conceivable business contains “bayou” in its name in Louisiana. There is a Bayou Bowling Alley, Bayou Builders, Bayou Forklifts, Bayou Gymnastics, Bayou Internet, Bayou Plumbing, and so forth on down through the alphabet. We have bayou churches, schools, and of course the fighting Bayou Bengal football team. Early Ch

Pecans

Bayou-Diversity (16 December 2018) To me, the word “PEE-can” is synonymous with the chamber pots of days past. However, a national survey conducted in 2003 finds that “PEE-can” over “pa-KAWN” is the overwhelming choice among Americans. I’ll not conform to the majority. The name “pecan” is actually of Native American origin and was used to describe nuts that required a stone to crack. Pecans are in the hickory family and grow naturally along the river bottoms of eastern North America and south into Mexico. Old, wild trees can exceed 100 feet in height and three feet in diameter. The well-known fruit of pecan trees was an important food for humans and wildlife for thousands of years befor

Miracles

Bayou-Diversity (8 December 2018) Beneath the wings of Cassiopeia they rise in a cloud at dawn from the Arctic tundra of La Perouse Bay to ride the back draft of a cold front racing toward the Gulf of Mexico. Circling for altitude, clusters break away to form chevrons of miracles. Old birds, knowing well the aroma of Lacassine marshes 2,000 miles down the aerial highway, beat the path barking orders to youngsters who gabble amongst themselves in excited cries. On this voyage the secrets of survival are borne on snow-white wings dipped in midnight; remembrances of the past are wrapped in downy breasts. Bearing runes of creation in a genetic code that defies illumination, they fall from the w

Falling Tree

Bayou-Diversity (2 December 2018) Her days are numbered and she won’t likely last the winter. This prognosis is not arboreal soothsaying but rather the physics involved in supporting upright tons of wood fiber. Just look at the photo! Already she cants thirty degrees northwest and half her root system is embarrassingly exposed to all. Erosion, that hissing wave of gravity-fueled fluid that drags the main channel of the Mississippi River dozens of lateral miles across its floodplain like a writhing cottonmouth, works 24/7 on Bayou D’Arbonne also. It broke the anchor chains of this overcup oak. Although with dying roots the tree has lost the ability to maintain intimate relationships wit

Gift a Book!

Bayou-Diversity (1 December 2018) If you enjoy this Bayou-Diversity blog and are in need of holiday gifts, please consider my books. You can find them on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Kelby-Ouchley/e/B0046C109I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 . In the Monroe, LA area they are in the Black Bayou Lake Natl. Wildlife Refuge gift shop. If you’d like a signed/inscribed copy just contact me via Messenger. Thanks again for following my blog! -Kelby-

 

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