August 20, 2005 - Eocene Fossils, Covington and Cretaceous Fossils, Montgomery Co, AL

What a hot, humid day this was! According to weather reports, the temperature hit 97 where we were collecting, and there was virtually no shade. The first site we visited in Covington county was a real dud, for multiple reasons. We knew there would be a "constant steady discharge" due to some future plans at the dam. However, we didn't anticipate this discharge would raise the water level 3-4 feet above normal! This meant our normal collecting areas were underwater, way underwater, and we weren't prepared to scuba dive. We spent a short period of time collecting the few shells, teeth, and horned coral found in the banks, and getting hot and sweaty, then left early for our second site in Montgomery county. Much better collecting at this site! Members found a good number of shark teeth, ptychoda teeth, ammonites, and two unique finds, part of a turtle, and another item that we haven't seen from this site before, which is still being identified. According to Vice President Greg Mestler, in the late 1980's on another BPS field trip to this site, he found mosasaur skull bones in the same area where we found the turtle. Hmmmm.......

Once again, the group ended the day with a fine opportunity to hang out together at The Swamp, a kinda - sorta local eatery (only 20 minutes away, huh, Greg?) where we stayed way too long, but enjoyed the time spent with fellow fossil hounds.

(Pictures courtesy Jan Novak and Vicki Lais.)

hunting fossils by river
Searching for shells, teeth and horned coral in the clay banks. Note how high the water is behind us.
 Lea and Greg, our Pres and VP.

hunting fossils by river
The water was very high, severely impacting our collecting. Sylvie is walking in a spot that is normally dry. Even the island is flooded.
shark teeth
In spite of the high water, some nice shark and ray teeth were found.

fossil shell in matrix
Shells in matrix. They are very fragile and crumble easily, so are difficult to collect whole.

hunting fossils by river
Ok, this isn't very productive, on to the next site!

crossing creek
At our second site, the water was high so a safety rope was necessary.

hunting fossils by creek
The site is cretaceous. Each layer has a unique set of fossils.

hunting fossils by creek
Searching for echinoids and shark teeth.

hunting fossils by creek

hunting fossils by creek
Greg explaining proper excavation techniques.

disk from deer vertebra not fossil

disk from deer vertebra
Ron found an unusual heart-shaped item which turned out to be a disk from a dear vertebra. It is very light-weight and recent, not a fossil.

fossil shells in matrix
Fragments found here are still being identified. Look just above the yellow handle to see the first "rocks", then straight to the left. There are some more fragments in the upper right quadrant. Some are probably turtle.

fossil shells in matrix
Closer view.

fossil shels in matrix
Greg has exposed more fragments, probably turtle.

plaster jacket around ammonite
James had an opportunity to practice making a protective plaster jacket.

collecting fossil ammonite
Nice ammonite found by James.
Rychard carefully excavates an ammonite.

fossil ammonite
A close-up view of a ammonite found by Rychard.

alligator footprints
Tracks of a recent visitor, a large alligator . . .

hunting fossils by creek
Paige, get out of the water, you look just like gator bait!

panning for gold - black sand
Ron's other interest is gold panning, and he gave some of us a demo, using gold bearing material he found in Georgia.

end of fossil collecting for the day
Greg, turn around! They told me to quit taking pictures of people's rear ends!

What a group of tired, sweaty people. So where do we go to cool off and relax a while?

eating at The Swamp after day of fossil collecting
The Swamp, of course! Our favorite restaurant on the Alabama River.