Monday, May 14, 2012

Back online!

Hey!  Back again after a waaay too long interruption! 

     Currently, back in Wisconsin working with Jess for the DNR on a project surveying culverts in the Green Bay watershed and beginning the work up of the data we all collected this winter!  Looks like we've got some more time to put into analysis but it's starting to look like we've got some stable numbers to back up the things we saw last winter!  

Below are a few of the last photos from the last groups!

Betsy recording data

Not recording data now!

Thanks all for a wonderful season and my apologies for keeping you all waiting on the blog.  We're working on a method to keep it updated properly and get our data in a manner to share efficiently. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

File Gumbo

And now, as much promised, Patrice's family gumbo recipe!

1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
4 or 5 pieces of cooked crab claws or legs
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces or desired size
14 chicken drumettes and 2 boneless breasts cut into 2 in. pieces (retain skin on chicken until gumbo is cooked)
1 med. chopped onion
6 cloves garlic
6 sprigs green onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
5 sprigs of parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. ground thyme
8 whole bay leaves (remove before serving)
salt to taste
3 tbsp. paprika
black pepper to taste
file to taste (I like a good toss)
cayenne or chili powder to taste (optional)
5 qts water

For roux:
1 cup flour
2/3 cup oil or butter

In large skillet, fry chicken until slightly brown; add sausage, onions, parsley, and green pepper.  Continue to cook while stirring until veggies are tender.  Add garlic, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, paprika, and file.  Pour ingredients into water, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 30 mins or until chicken is tender.

While waiting for that, the roux:
In a skillet combine flour and fat, cook over med-low heat about 20 mins or until mixture is light brown (caramelized slightly) stirring constantly.  When it's about as thick as a sauce as you can stir, it's ready.                   (the roux is the important part)

Slowly and carefully add roux to gumbo, stirring until all ingredients are well combined.  Add shrimp and crabs, stirring thoroughly.  Continue to cook for 15 mins (or until seafood is cooked and roux has thickened the whole thing).  Remove bay leaves and skim off excess oil. 

Serve over cooked rice and add file or other spices at table to taste!

And, I know it deviates from the secret family traditions, but I really enjoyed adding grilled corn and other peppers for a bit of color....but you'll have to make it your own!

Thanks Patrice!!!

Pictures from Claudia and week 1!

Shrimp boat out near Grand Isle
A huge raft of double crested cormorants!

More cormies

Double crested cormorants with american white pelicans in the background

The floodgates right outside Delta Marina

Oyster boats coming into Delta Marina

Darwin and Jay looking for loons!

Is that a car in the water?!?!

Darwin with one of the satellite birds originally captured last winter!

Loon X-ray

Beginning of a common loon necropsy

Dr. Mark Pokras during a necropsy over skype!

Destroyed camp

Me on an oiled beach near Bay Jimmy
Thanks for the update Claudia, keep 'em coming!
Hey all, back again on a catch-up Friday!
Seems like summer may be here now, quite warm, humid, and a warm fog every night--a total change from week 1!!  Lives oaks are budding out and the birds in the yard are very busy setting up their territories and the loons are getting into their breeding plumage!  Pretty soon now, I suspect we'll be seeing fewer and fewer loons! Above is a map showing all the routes and waypoints recorded on my GPS unit--that's a lot of miles and a lot of loons so far!

Had yet another great group of volunteers last week, and for the folks new to the blog, please feel free to send me your photos (assuming you want to share them!) at and we'll get your experiences on the interwebs!

Below are a few from 2a that have their photos on separate locations--follow the links and check them out, they're great!

Donna's photos on Facebook (a public album).

Below are a few from Margo (2b), and I really like the filtered ones! 
Murielle and Rebecca ready for a day on the water

Delta Marina cabins


Todd's boat

Working out the day's route

Murielle having a blast!

Louisiana sunset!

Murielle with her bird


Darwin, Jim, and myself
Keep the photos coming and hope everyone is enjoying their springs as the earth tilts to the north!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rainy day here, spending the day in, so I figured I'd get caught up once again! 
The last two weeks have been quite nice even though we've been fighting the weather a bit, saw a record list of birds down at Venice yesterday--52 total species!, caught three loons in one night, got some sweet shots of dolphins at sunset, and made some new friends!
Got some photos from team 2a--thanks Lyman for sharing!
Caroline and Carol on our first cancelled night of fog, wind, and rain...too bad they were ready for the weather!

Todd and I deciding what to do about the weather

Our fine craft!

It's BioLodge!

Running down a canal on a sunny day!

There was a gator here a moment ago!

American White Pelicans starting to get into breeding season.

Looking for loons!

Jay's boat, clearly they are not working very hard...  ;)

Barge heading up the Big Muddy

Prepping the capture data sheets

Forming the aluminum band

Darwin pulling a loon out of the box

Darwin putting the bird's feet on display

Helping Judy and Carol hold the bird

Drawing blood with Ellen

Checking that we're getting our full sample

Putting the aluminum band on

All the bands on! Ready to go!

Never a good idea to leave the loony bin with coffee and iphones....

A good shot of our favorite birding spot down on Tidewater Rd in Venice

Adult brown pelican flying by


A close-up red tail

My first gator and first one of the season!

We keep our volunteers busy down here...

and I swear I work too!