June 30, 2018 - Cretaceous Fossils, Dallas and Perry County, Al.

I want to start this trip report with a huge thank you to Tim for escorting the group on the first half of the trip and for patiently answering all of the questions.  We couldn’t have done it without you!!! 

A baker’s dozen of BPS members and guests, all eager for a field trip, met  in Dallas county to collect in chalk gullies.  It was suggested that we go to a gully that hasn’t been surveyed in over a year so we were all very eager to get to it.  Tim mentioned a few collecting techniques as well as some collecting etiquette, showed an aerial photo of the area to be collected and, after a short hike, we were in the gullies!  Almost immediately, Tim found a mosasaur vertebra and a jaw fragment – a very positive sign!  As groups do, we spread out to explore and mark interesting finds.  There were copious shrimp burrows and strangely hard to resist pyritized organic material (sparkly fish poops), barnacles, some enchodus and shark teeth, a large fragment of a rudist clam, a section of lignite, a previously flagged and recovered fish jaw, and a group of turtle vertebra.  It was, of course, blazing hot so, even though the exploration was exciting, no one complained when the lunch break was called.  We went to a shady place to pause, refresh, and recharge biological batteries.

For the second site, we went to another privately owned, very productive creek  where James joined us.   The recent rains had scoured some areas and deposited about 2 vertical feet of sand onto what used to be lovely gravel bars.  While some of us tried sifting material in old familiar spots, James scouted upstream and alerted the group that there was a gravel bar that would support all of our attention and exploration.  So, after a short hike, we all settled on to the new spot where we were delighted to find large and small, mostly well preserved, shark teeth, gastropod casts, ptychodus teeth, bone bits, a pectoral spine, baculite and ammonite segments and many other fossil and non-fossil finds.

The weather, which is always a gamble this time of year, cooperated all day.  It was hot in the gullies but there was a breeze and the bright sun really helps with fossil spotting.  Clouds started moving in at noon and thunder was heard in the distance (rained on us as we drove to second site) but it never rained on us in the creek and we never had to leave the creek because of lightning.   Based on the smiles and shared finds at the end of the day, I think a great time was had by all!