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We're all settled into our first field site for the season: the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) in Cocodrie, Louisiana. Despite looking like an airport, it's actually pretty cozy. "Cocodrie" is Cajun for "alligator", but we've yet to see any reptiles (although the dolphins are exciting enough).
Raccoon is part of the Iles Dernieres, which are the outermost islands in Terrebonne Bay, and it's packed with pelicans, terns, laughing gulls, and waders. Subsidence and land loss are major concerns in this area, so Raccoon has been selected for habitat reclamation and is being buffered by a still-in-progress levee.
We followed Scott and his team on their monitoring rounds, getting a sense of where we might catch pelicans and enjoying the feeling of being out on a seabird colony again. Unlike the Texas and Florida colonies, Raccoon Island feels truly remote-- Elizabeth calculated that the boat trip there and back (including a detour to a nearby island) took over sixty miles.
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Aside from work, we took in the local culture today at the Folk Art Festival in Chauvin. There was food and music, and all the neighborhood boats dressed up for a Blessing of the Fleet.