June 23, 2007 - Eocene Fossils, Covington Co, AL

The weather was unbearably hot for this June BPS trip to a river in Covington County. Maybe it was the heat, but we had a smaller than normal turnout. The water at this Eocene age site was extremely low, and our usual collecting-holes were sometimes totally flushed clean, and sometimes filled with silt. Very odd. However, we still found some nice specimens and quite a bit of petrified wood, including what appears to be a seed pod. The group scattered along the riverbank and settled down in their chosen collecting spots, making life a little hard on the photographer, but we still got some nice pictures.

Unlike previous years, we were the only collectors that day. It appeared that some "cleanup" work had been done along the riverbank, because it was smooth and un-marred by the holes and trenches dug by commercial collectors in previous years. The landowner asked that we DO NOT DIG at this site, and hopefully, the word has gotten around (BPS never dug here, anyhow). Screening is ok, but NOT digging holes in the banks. Since a number of our members have been appalled in the past at what appeared to be irresponsible digging by people who didn't even know they needed permission to collect here, this was welcome news.

We found ray teeth, shark teeth, sting-ray spines, brachiopods, drumfish mouth plates, and some mystery pieces. Stay tuned! The river was a wonderful place to cool off on such a hot day, so BPSer's took full advantage. Several members camped out overnight (thanks for the A/C, Leisa!), and broke out the canoes the next day in hopes of spotting some more collecting areas. We found some shark and ray teeth, a live turtle badly wanting out of the hole it had fallen into, and had a very pleasant trip UP the river, but did not find the treasure hole we were seeking. So, obviously, we have to go hunting again, right guys?
--Edited by Vicki Lais

(Photos courtesy Claire Smith and Vicki Lais)

fossil members group picture
The group picture, hey, what can I say? We were late, hot, and hungry!

riverbank fossil collecting site
Very low water level today.

collecting fossils in river
Members hunting for the best collecting spots - the river is quite shallow here.

fossil wood and seed pod
Jan found several pieces of petrified/ permineralized wood, and what appears to be a nice seed pod.

collecting fossils in river
Jan heading downstream, surveying areas that are normally covered with water.

collecting fossils in river

collecting fossils in river

fossil teeth
Sample of the fossils found at this site.

collecting fossils in river

collecting fossils in river

fossil shark teeth

fossil drumfish mouth plate
Drumfish mouth plate.

fossil collecting site

falls at fossil collecting site
The river is low enough to expose this small waterfall, where, rumor has it, Claire and Becky engaged in a water battle.

collecting fossils in river

collecting fossils in river

fossil seed pod
Good view of the seed found by Jan.

fossil wood
Wood found by Jan.

fossil shark and ray teeth
That evening at camp, we spread out our finds for the day.

fossil shark and ray teeth

fossil brachiopod - shells

canoe trip collecting fossils in river

fossil ray tooth

fossil shark and ray teeth