Sunday, June 21, 2009

Frigate birds and catfish

So, we've had some down time during the last couple weeks, but only for a day or half day at a time, so I've been doing some fishing. In the brackish waters of the Louisiana Coast, there is a whole different set of fish than I have ever been around before. I am told that what I want to catch are the red drum, or "Redfish," the black drum, or flounder. But after many attempts over two weeks, all I have had luck with is a particularly crappy variety of catfish locally known as "hardheads." Even old school Cajuns avoid eating this type of catfish, and old school Cajuns have ways of preparing almost every animal found in the state for human consumption. But I caught plenty of these hardheads. Here's a pic of the biggest one:

Impressed? No? Me neither.

Anyway yesterday we were tied up to an abandoned, ruined platform all night. In the morning when we went to unhitch from it, I noticed a flock of frigate birds roosting on top of it. Frigate birds migrate long distances over open ocean and can spend months on the wing without landing thanks to their unrivaled wingspan to weight ratio. I have been seeing them alone or in pairs lately, so I knew they were coming through here this time of year, but didn't expect to see any perched, let alone a couple dozen. So as we came close to the platform in order to cast off the mooring line, I gave a shout and they all took off at once. Here's a picture of that moment. I love the graceful shapes of their wings and tails.

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