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Gardner, Peace River - Slow and Low


Bone Daddy

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We paddled past Charlie Creek today. I took a long slow look at it as I paddled by going upstream and then when I floated slowly by on the way downstream. It looked very low.  In fact, all of the Peace near Gardner is very very low right now. I was wading through knee deep water and pulling the kayak behind me more than I paddled. We (my wife and I) did a lot of digging and sifting. I also did a lot of slow systematic scanning of the river bottom (using nice 12-noon overhead sun to light up the shallow water). I found a lot of chunkasaurus, broken bits of mammoth teeth, ivory shards, dugong ribs, turtle scutes, and assorted small shark teeth. Found a modern vertebra, and a bunch of small oddballs that are drying out. Also brought home some more micro-matrix material to sift through later. Grabbed a couple of big cool-looking limestone rocks for the garden. We spent almost 7 hours on the river today and didn't find a single meg or highlight find. Beautiful weather and a nice paddle though.

Lots of catfish everywhere. Small ones and big ones. Bring a rod and catch your dinner while you fossil-hunt. Saw zero gators today. I guess they don't like shallow moving water, so they must be congregating in the deeper stretches elsewhere.

I will emphasize - the water level is very low. In some places it is only inches deep. For long stretches, I had to pull the kayak behind me and walk the river. An outboard motor would have problems unless it was mounted on one of those long booms designed for shallow water. We did see an airboat, which was nice enough to throttle down as it passed us. We also saw a group of canoeists and kayakers who had paddled down from Zolfo Springs. They said the entire stretch from Zolfo to Gardner was "almost too low" - so I am assuming they did a fair bit of portaging. The USGS Zolfo gauge read 4.49 this morning and the discharge flow was 99 - slow and low.

 

Will post more photos later. I am dead tired, but it's a good tired.  :)

The photo below is just upstream of the ramp and not far from the mouth of Charlie Creek.

 

 

 

 

gardner-low.jpg

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Bone Daddy - Glad to hear you got out to the river today.  I was there too, a bit farther north.  Spent the day a good way north of Payne Creek. Been hunting this area on my last 3 visits.  The water is LOW here just as you described and the catfish are abundant.  I have had a visitor each afternoon as the sun gets nice and high.  A 3 to 4 foot alligator has been climbing up on the bank right opposite where I've been gigging.  He sits there and watches as I dig all afternoon.  Sometimes I think he really is smiling at my grunts and groans as I pull up shovels full of gravel.  I snapped his picture just before leaving today:

 

20200312_143839_resized.jpg.e549c590cd1400dc50cb009b1344bd44.jpg

 

20200312_143841-2_resized.jpg.9396fbec4026c48478d4118962a223b7.jpg

 

I think I found his Grandaddy's tooth just before I left!

 

20200312_183839_resized.jpg.b229e5ca52246396be331da19c4b103a.jpg

 

Looking forward to seeing the rest of your photos.

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Thanks for the river reports. Going to take some friends and family out on Saturday. Not prospecting any less hunted areas but just trying our luck in a popular stretch for fossil hunting. We did pretty good about 3 months ago at very well-known public spots and hoping that we can dig enough to luck into some interesting finds. Will likely report back even if we don't salvage any spectacular trip-makers. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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23 minutes ago, PODIGGER said:

Bone Daddy - Glad to hear you got out to the river today.  I was there too, a bit farther north.  Spent the day a good way north of Payne Creek. Been hunting this area on my last 3 visits.  The water is LOW here just as you described and the catfish are abundant.  I have had a visitor each afternoon as the sun gets nice and high.  A 3 to 4 foot alligator has been climbing up on the bank right opposite where I've been gigging.  He sits there and watches as I dig all afternoon.  Sometimes I think he really is smiling at my grunts and groans as I pull up shovels full of gravel.  I snapped his picture just before leaving today:

 

20200312_143839_resized.jpg.e549c590cd1400dc50cb009b1344bd44.jpg

 

20200312_143841-2_resized.jpg.9396fbec4026c48478d4118962a223b7.jpg

 

I think I found his Grandaddy's tooth just before I left!

 

20200312_183839_resized.jpg.b229e5ca52246396be331da19c4b103a.jpg

 

Looking forward to seeing the rest of your photos.

 

I've been hunting a few miles north of Payne's Creek. It's a very pretty stretch of river. When the water-level is right, there is a small "waterfall" not from the bridge that is near the park. Once you get on the other side of that, you are well outside the boundaries of the state park and the adjacent off-limits area. I've hunted it 4 or 5 times and have had mixed luck.

I didn't even see a single tiny gator at Gardner today. I think they are all hiding in the oxbows in the river in between Zolfo and Gardner. There is also a couple of deep spots in Charlie Creek where they might be congregating. Wherever they are, I didn't see them at all today and hardly any on the trip before that.

 

Yeah, you have a buddy there. :)
 

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5 minutes ago, digit said:

Thanks for the river reports. Going to take some friends and family out on Saturday. Not prospecting any less hunted areas but just trying our luck in a popular stretch for fossil hunting. We did pretty good about 3 months ago at very well-known public spots and hoping that we can dig enough to luck into some interesting finds. Will likely report back even if we don't salvage any spectacular trip-makers. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

Conditions are perfect for river newbies or kids - very shallow and the weather has been sunny. The river is lit up and visibility is great - calming for those who are spooked by dark water.

Here is a photo of a stretch of Gardner today, about a mile upstream of the ramp. You can see that it's barely past my ankles. Crazy low. Lots of gravel to sift that is easy to reach. However, also lots of hunter holes and spoil piles. So, it's a known stretch and lots of other hunters are hitting it. Although, I haven't bumped into any yet, but I tend to go in the middle of the week when it's less busy.

 

 

 

gardner-low-af.jpg

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Took a friend to Zolfo yesterday for an introductory hunt for him. It was a beautiful day and the water is warming up nicely. I think the river looks shallower this year because there is so much sand in the channel after the storms the last couple years. With the Zolfo gauge at 4.5', we could still get a drop to about 3.5, which we have had in past years, which would leave fairly long stretches high and dry. Several of my favorite places to dig (like the elephant graveyard @digit) are covered by 4 or more feet of sand. We did alright, but not great. I used a 1/4 inch screen instead of the 1/2 inch so we would be working at the same speed in the smaller gravel which is standard at Zolfo. Lots of teeth, few mammal things, he found a nice large phalanx, but no big surprises. 

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2 hours ago, Sacha said:

Several of my favorite places to dig (like the elephant graveyard @digit) are covered by 4 or more feet of sand.

I remember that pachyderm pothole well and hope the sands of time shift once again to reveal that productive site. :)

 

While it probably seems to most paddlers that the river does not change year by year, fossil hunters are much more in tune with the ebb and flow of sand along the river channel. I can remember prospecting for sites about a decade ago and locking in several gravel beds in my GPS. Returning to the same point after a year or two I found it to be nothing but deep sand without a trace of gravel detected by my probe. A year or two later and it was a gravel bed again. Could have been the gravel was transported downstream and replaced with sterile sand and then the sand was moved along and gravel resettled the area or it could be that the gravel never moved but was capped by thick enough sand to make the gravel too deep to detect. I keep track of several places where I've found gravel in the past and check them occasionally while passing by. What I don't keep track of is how deep the river is at those spots (that would require a notebook and not just a GPS) so I can't really remember if the depth is changing between visits as sand is added or removed.

 

One of my favorite spots that produces (quite literally) buckets of dugong rib bone fragments (a fun site for kids and newbies who need their "paleo paperweights) has seen changes over the years. This spot is on a long sandbar and the gravel was at the leading edge as it came up from deeper water. There was only a seam of very chunky gravel along this leading edge. Because the outcrop was so narrow it did not allow a large number of people to dig where the gravel was to be found. When I had a group of friends with us and their gaggle of kids, I'd dig on the spot and have them stand in the shallower water on top of the sandbar and push their sifting screens within my reach to fill. Each shovel tended to produce one or more dugong bones and the kids would chime out "Dugong!" with every bone that they spotted. I think it was just the size of the finds and self-infectious silliness that got them all chanting for more ribs like they were at an all-you-can-eat BBQ joint. They would fill their "goody belts" (one dollar nail aprons picked up from big box home improvement stores) till their pants started to droop.

 

I returned to this site post Hurricane Irma (during the very short season that year) and found the water deeper than I remembered. The river was high but I didn't think it would be that deep at the site. I couldn't get out to the spot at the leading edge of the sandbar where I knew the chunky gravel was exposed. It was cold and I was wearing waders and I didn't want to overtop them so I turned around and headed back toward shore. I tend to probe while walking and so I probed the top of the sandbar which I knew was nothing but sand (I'd checked it year after year). I was surprised to hear the crunch of gravel where I had not detected it before. It seems that the the huge flow that resulted from the Peace River draining all of the rain dumped by Irma had scoured off the top sandy layer that capped this sandbar revealing a more extensive gravel layer that was inaccessible for who knows how long. Nearly exactly a year ago I took out a group of Scubanauts and their parents from the St. Petersburg area on a field trip to the Peace. Long time friends of ours were part of this group and we managed to hit the river at near its lowest that season for a fun outing. I was able to spread the large group out over the top of this sandbar since the accessible gravel was now covering a much larger area.

 

I tried to stop back to this same spot when we visited with friends right before the end of last year. The water was about 2.5 feet higher than it is presently and when I walked out on the sandbar I quickly got to neck deep and quickly concluded that the site was not in range at the time. Hoping to visit that spot tomorrow under more favorable conditions. I think the site is now about 2 feet deeper than it had been for years when the sand had built up forming a very shallow sandbar. The site is now more expansive but also deeper and so requires lower water conditions to be huntable. :fingerscrossed:

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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1 hour ago, digit said:

I remember that pachyderm pothole well and hope the sands of time shift once again to reveal that productive site. :)

 

While it probably seems to most paddlers that the river does not change year by year, fossil hunters are much more in tune with the ebb and flow of sand along the river channel. I can remember prospecting for sites about a decade ago and locking in several gravel beds in my GPS. Returning to the same point after a year or two I found it to be nothing but deep sand without a trace of gravel detected by my probe. A year or two later and it was a gravel bed again. Could have been the gravel was transported downstream and replaced with sterile sand and then the sand was moved along and gravel resettled the area or it could be that the gravel never moved but was capped by thick enough sand to make the gravel too deep to detect. I keep track of several places where I've found gravel in the past and check them occasionally while passing by. What I don't keep track of is how deep the river is at those spots (that would require a notebook and not just a GPS) so I can't really remember if the depth is changing between visits as sand is added or removed.

 

One of my favorite spots that produces (quite literally) buckets of dugong rib bone fragments (a fun site for kids and newbies who need their "paleo paperweights) has seen changes over the years. This spot is on a long sandbar and the gravel was at the leading edge as it came up from deeper water. There was only a seam of very chunky gravel along this leading edge. Because the outcrop was so narrow it did not allow a large number of people to dig where the gravel was to be found. When I had a group of friends with us and their gaggle of kids, I'd dig on the spot and have them stand in the shallower water on top of the sandbar and push their sifting screens within my reach to fill. Each shovel tended to produce one or more dugong bones and the kids would chime out "Dugong!" with every bone that they spotted. I think it was just the size of the finds and self-infectious silliness that got them all chanting for more ribs like they were at an all-you-can-eat BBQ joint. They would fill their "goody belts" (one dollar nail aprons picked up from big box home improvement stores) till their pants started to droop.

 

I returned to this site post Hurricane Irma (during the very short season that year) and found the water deeper than I remembered. The river was high but I didn't think it would be that deep at the site. I couldn't get out to the spot at the leading edge of the sandbar where I knew the chunky gravel was exposed. It was cold and I was wearing waders and I didn't want to overtop them so I turned around and headed back toward shore. I tend to probe while walking and so I probed the top of the sandbar which I knew was nothing but sand (I'd checked it year after year). I was surprised to hear the crunch of gravel where I had not detected it before. It seems that the the huge flow that resulted from the Peace River draining all of the rain dumped by Irma had scoured off the top sandy layer that capped this sandbar revealing a more extensive gravel layer that was inaccessible for who knows how long. Nearly exactly a year ago I took out a group of Scubanauts and their parents from the St. Petersburg area on a field trip to the Peace. Long time friends of ours were part of this group and we managed to hit the river at near its lowest that season for a fun outing. I was able to spread the large group out over the top of this sandbar since the accessible gravel was now covering a much larger area.

 

I tried to stop back to this same spot when we visited with friends right before the end of last year. The water was about 2.5 feet higher than it is presently and when I walked out on the sandbar I quickly got to neck deep and quickly concluded that the site was not in range at the time. Hoping to visit that spot tomorrow under more favorable conditions. I think the site is now about 2 feet deeper than it had been for years when the sand had built up forming a very shallow sandbar. The site is now more expansive but also deeper and so requires lower water conditions to be huntable. :fingerscrossed:

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

I wish I had kept better records from my first few years of hunting. I just have date-stamped photos and my foggy memory to revisit. No gauge readings or other hard info. The last couple of years, I have started keeping a detailed log of each trip. Where, when, times, water gauge height/flow, and what was found. I also keep .txt file copies of the trip reports I post online. So between those two sets of records, I can glean some useful info for planning future trips.

 

I have just started revisiting the Gardner environs after a hiatus of about 3-4 years - again, this is where my lack of records from that time period hurts. My detailed records start in 2018, so I don't know exactly how high/fast the water was then, in comparison to the last two weeks of trips. I will say this, in my limited experience with Gardner, this is the lowest I have ever seen it.

 

On this trip, my wife kicked my tail. She found a vert, a whale ear bone, a cool old bottle, and some nice bone bits that have a little bit of shape to them (a step up from chunkasaurus, but not an entire bone). I found a nice intact bone (not sure what yet, but it looks familiar), a bunch of interesting small oddballs, a few small teeth, one decent-sized broken mammoth tooth section, and the usual dugong ribs and micro-matrix chunks.

I think we (my wife and I), might be done with Gardner for the remainder of the season. Despite how low it is and how productive it is, the DeSoto and Hardee county schools are now out for Spring Break (and may end up being canceled entirely because of corona), so I expect the Gardner ramp is about to get a lot busier and "redneckier".  I have recovered enough micro-matrix to keep me busy for a while, and I like to avoid busy spots, so I may skip Gardner until next season. We'll see what happens...

Is that a whale ear bone on the left? And is the one on the right from an alligator or turtle?

 

gardner-swag-03-12.JPG

bones-1.JPG

bones-2.JPG

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6 hours ago, Sacha said:

Took a friend to Zolfo yesterday for an introductory hunt for him. It was a beautiful day and the water is warming up nicely. I think the river looks shallower this year because there is so much sand in the channel after the storms the last couple years. With the Zolfo gauge at 4.5', we could still get a drop to about 3.5, which we have had in past years, which would leave fairly long stretches high and dry. Several of my favorite places to dig (like the elephant graveyard @digit) are covered by 4 or more feet of sand. We did alright, but not great. I used a 1/4 inch screen instead of the 1/2 inch so we would be working at the same speed in the smaller gravel which is standard at Zolfo. Lots of teeth, few mammal things, he found a nice large phalanx, but no big surprises. 

 

Hi Sacha,

Zolfo is a great place to bring newbies. Easy to find. Relatively safe and secure for vehicles. Restroom facilities. No fees. And the river is productive along that stretch. Nice paddling also with lots of wildlife. Heck, I still enjoy going there from time to time and it will never get old. I am assuming you did some paddling against the current for at least one leg of the trip, so how was it? Was the current running pretty hard in a few spots like it usually does when it gets low? I am asking because I plan on bringing my grandson out sometime in the coming weeks (while school is out/suspended) and I think Zolfo might be a good place for his first real fossil trip. I am just wondering how much portaging I will need to do. It might be more of a wading trip than a paddling trip.  LOL.

 

 

 

 

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Great stuff!!!!! 
 

My dig partner daughter and I are headed over to Arcadia tomorrow, coming from Miami. We plan on putting our kayaks in at the Peace River Outpost and paddling up river and floating back, Saturday and Sunday. I fashioned probing poles out of golf clubs to listen for the “crunch”. Question without giving favorite sites away- is it worth looking past (down river) from the Outpost?  I’ve read the closer to the end of the river there is less and less material. I’m also hoping there is something to find. I have read reports of kayaks filled with dugong ribs and bucks of meg teeth. I would be thrilled with a bit of mammoth. 
 

Love reading these reports. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully I have one of my own to post next week. Happy hunting and be careful out there!  
 

Jen 

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15 hours ago, Bone Daddy said:

We paddled past Charlie Creek today. I took a long slow look at it as I paddled by going upstream and then when I floated slowly by on the way downstream. It looked very low.  In fact, all of the Peace near Gardner is very very low right now. I was wading through knee deep water and pulling the kayak behind me more than I paddled. We (my wife and I) did a lot of digging and sifting. I also did a lot of slow systematic scanning of the river bottom (using nice 12-noon overhead sun to light up the shallow water). I found a lot of chunkasaurus, broken bits of mammoth teeth, ivory shards, dugong ribs, turtle scutes, and assorted small shark teeth. Found a modern vertebra, and a bunch of small oddballs that are drying out. Also brought home some more micro-matrix material to sift through later. Grabbed a couple of big cool-looking limestone rocks for the garden. We spent almost 7 hours on the river today and didn't find a single meg or highlight find. Beautiful weather and a nice paddle though.

Lots of catfish everywhere. Small ones and big ones. Bring a rod and catch your dinner while you fossil-hunt. Saw zero gators today. I guess they don't like shallow moving water, so they must be congregating in the deeper stretches elsewhere.

I will emphasize - the water level is very low. In some places it is only inches deep. For long stretches, I had to pull the kayak behind me and walk the river. An outboard motor would have problems unless it was mounted on one of those long booms designed for shallow water. We did see an airboat, which was nice enough to throttle down as it passed us. We also saw a group of canoeists and kayakers who had paddled down from Zolfo Springs. They said the entire stretch from Zolfo to Gardner was "almost too low" - so I am assuming they did a fair bit of portaging. The USGS Zolfo gauge read 4.49 this morning and the discharge flow was 99 - slow and low.

 

Will post more photos later. I am dead tired, but it's a good tired.  :)

The photo below is just upstream of the ramp and not far from the mouth of Charlie Creek.

 

 

 

 

gardner-low.jpg

Sorry, I don’t know how to capture a part of a posting yet so the whole thing is here. You mentioned bringing home some micro mix. I’ve been reading about micro mix and would love some. I’m not much of a tv watcher and think it would keep me out of trouble. I have an assortment of headlamps and magnifying glasses I use to look for monarch eggs at night, but this sounds even better. I have several large buckets and a shovel, where or what am I looking for?  Thanks! 

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45 minutes ago, Bone Daddy said:

Is that a whale ear bone on the left? And is the one on the right from an alligator or turtle?

 

bones-1.JPG bones-2.JPG

The bone on the right looks more like an alligator scapula than tortoise but @Harry Pristis is infinitely more familiar with these bones and can weigh in authoritatively. ;)

 

The item on the left does share some curved features of a cetacean tympanic bulla but it is not triggering my search image properly. I'd check this piece to see if it has bone texture or a more sandy matrix texture as I think it might be an overly suggestive phosphatic lump or OSPL. :P

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Buckets of meg teeth are usually reserved for divers (scuba) and lucky individuals who find an isolated honey-hole unknown to other hunters. In fact, I have been hunting everything between Fort Meade to Gardner and I have not found an intact meg tooth in over two years. I've almost forgotten what it's like to find a meg tooth. In fact, it was fall of 2018 when I found several and that was my last "Meg Hurrah" so far - been skunked since then. Not for lack of trying though, just bad meg luck I suppose. That also means I am due. LOL. In short, don't get your hopes too elevated for a 5-gallon bucket full of megs - but don't be discouraged either. You might strike it rich and make me jealous.   :)

In general, the further downstream you go on the Peace, the wider and more tidally-influenced it becomes. Once you start getting south of Nocatee, the river turns more into tidal flats, mangroves, and lots of feeder creeks. People do hunt down there, but I have no first-hand experience with that area. Heck, I still haven't visited Arcadia yet. A couple miles south of the Gardner ramp is the furthest south I have been on the Peace. You really can't go wrong anywhere between Fort Meade and Arcadia - that seems to be the stretch that forum members search most often. I don't see many trip reports (or info online) about hunting below Nocatee, with the exception of Shell Creek and Joshua Creek.

 

Be sure to let us know how your trip goes and what you find! And good to luck to also and stay safe!  :)

 


 

 

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2 minutes ago, Jen Morris said:

Sorry, I don’t know how to capture a part of a posting yet so the whole thing is here.

Highlight a chunk of text (or photo or both) and you should get a "Quote" pop-up which will allow you to quote just that. Alternatively, hit the Quote button at the bottom of the post you are quoting and edit out what you don't want in the gray quote box. ;)

 

4 minutes ago, Jen Morris said:

I’ve been reading about micro mix and would love some. I’m not much of a tv watcher and think it would keep me out of trouble. I have an assortment of headlamps and magnifying glasses I use to look for monarch eggs at night, but this sounds even better. I have several large buckets and a shovel, where or what am I looking for?

Have a gander at my post from some time back to see how I collect my micro-matrix. Basically you need two sifters to be able to remove the larger and finder materials than what you are interested in collecting. I use a piece of loose window screen material (easily purchased in roll form at your neighborhood home improvement store). Put this in the bottom sifter to let out the finer sand. The top sifter (1/4" mesh works well) will remove the easily visible larger fossils and lots of larger chunks of matrix.

 

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/51286-collecting-cookiecutter-shark-micro-matrix/

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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43 minutes ago, Jen Morris said:

Sorry, I don’t know how to capture a part of a posting yet so the whole thing is here. You mentioned bringing home some micro mix. I’ve been reading about micro mix and would love some. I’m not much of a tv watcher and think it would keep me out of trouble. I have an assortment of headlamps and magnifying glasses I use to look for monarch eggs at night, but this sounds even better. I have several large buckets and a shovel, where or what am I looking for?  Thanks! 

 

The material that I call "micro matrix" will be seen in large rock-sized pieces that are too big to easily transport, all the way down to fist-sized clumps. You will see them on the river banks and in the water near the banks in certain areas. Usually where a layer of this material runs through a high sandy bank and has been exposed by erosion. The big and small clumps fall out of the banks and tumble down to the water. The larger pieces break up into smaller pieces over time. They are usually white in color compared to the surrounding darker earth tones of the banks they erode from. On close examination you will see that it is a conglomerate-like compacted mass of smaller rocks, pebbles, shells, and misc bits with a sandy matrix that glues it all together. Some is more crumbly and others are more cement-like in hardness. Both are fossiliferous, but the brittle stuff is obviously easier to break apart later and search. This material contains (predominately) Miocene-period material that is dominated by marine fauna - bone bits from cetaceans and shark teeth mostly (including megalodon). If you find a nice lump that hasn't been sitting in the water too long, the fossil colors will be very nice - bluish teeth, etc.

You can see a white layer of this material in the photo below. It is eroding from a tall sandy bank that is collapsing slowly into the river (taking trees and everything else with it). The chunks can been seen in the background of the second photo (to the right of the soda can). I don't seem to have a close-up photo handy, but you get the idea. In a lot of cases, you can actually see tiny shark teeth, ray plates, and other fossils poking out of the surface of the lumps. There is also a second type of matrix rock that is darker in color with orangey-tan sand holding the pieces together, and it is much more pebbly and hard to break up (a couple of smaller pieces visible in the photo below).

 

 

 

 

gard-exposure.jpeg

matrix.JPG

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35 minutes ago, digit said:

The bone on the right looks more like an alligator scapula than tortoise but @Harry Pristis is infinitely more familiar with these bones and can weigh in authoritatively. ;)

 

The item on the left does share some curved features of a cetacean tympanic bulla but it is not triggering my search image properly. I'd check this piece to see if it has bone texture or a more sandy matrix texture as I think it might be an overly suggestive phosphatic lump or OSPL. :P

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken


That bone on the right looks familiar to me and I need to go back through my collection for comparison. I think I have found something like that previously. The one on the left that I suspect is a whale bulla is definitely bone, the texture is right. The shape is odd and I have found broken chunkasaurus pieces that remind me of this, but this doesn't appear to be broken piece. It seems to be intact and is smooth all around the edges and one surface, while the reverse side has the distinct texture of bone.

 

 

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Excellent info, all of it. The pictures incredibly helpful. I’m adding window screen to my Home Depot list. I already have the tarp for home spreading and drying. 
 

Is it best to look for mix in the middle of the riverbed or more along the sides?  I know digging directly into banks is a BIG no no. From what I’m reading the sought after material is better if it’s been in the same place as opposed to washing down - it will literally erode to nothing. 
 

Again, thanks for the post. I have a lot of work to do before tomorrow. Double screens it is! 

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1 hour ago, Bone Daddy said:

 

Hi Sacha,

Zolfo is a great place to bring newbies. Easy to find. Relatively safe and secure for vehicles. Restroom facilities. No fees. And the river is productive along that stretch. Nice paddling also with lots of wildlife. Heck, I still enjoy going there from time to time and it will never get old. I am assuming you did some paddling against the current for at least one leg of the trip, so how was it? Was the current running pretty hard in a few spots like it usually does when it gets low? I am asking because I plan on bringing my grandson out sometime in the coming weeks (while school is out/suspended) and I think Zolfo might be a good place for his first real fossil trip. I am just wondering how much portaging I will need to do. It might be more of a wading trip than a paddling trip.  LOL.

 

 

 

 

 

Zolfo is the first spot I was exposed to about 9 years ago when I went on my introductory hunt with Fred Mazza. Back then we were still parking under the Rt 17 bridge and walking in. No kayaks or canoes. I guess that's why it's still my favorite spot along the river, even though it's allot harder to find something really worth while.

 

I'd say the current was pretty mild, but we got out and walked up the riffles in 4 spots before we got to our initial spot upstream. Still paddled past the campground so it's not that shallow yet. Could drift all the way back downstream and only bumped the bottom twice. Water is getting decently clear and all the big gators are gone. Only saw a couple 3 footers on the way back.

 

I'm going back Sunday to see what we left behind..

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5 minutes ago, Jen Morris said:

 

Is it best to look for mix in the middle of the riverbed or more along the sides?  I know digging directly into banks is a BIG no no. From what I’m reading the sought after material is better if it’s been in the same place as opposed to washing down - it will literally erode to nothing. 
 

Again, thanks for the post. I have a lot of work to do before tomorrow. Double screens it is! 

 

Anyplace in the river you can find gravel is a fine place to collect matrix. For the most part, the fossils in the Peace have already moved 3 or 4 times in their history, so finding in situ fossils involves excavations into the clay and holes in the limestone. 

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Harry Pristis

The bone on the left is a deer astragalus.  I don't recognize the object on the right, but it is not a typical turtle scapula.

 

 

deer_astragalus_pairA.JPG

deer_astragalus_pairB.JPG

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10 minutes ago, Jen Morris said:

Excellent info, all of it. The pictures incredibly helpful. I’m adding window screen to my Home Depot list. I already have the tarp for home spreading and drying. 
 

Is it best to look for mix in the middle of the riverbed or more along the sides?  I know digging directly into banks is a BIG no no. From what I’m reading the sought after material is better if it’s been in the same place as opposed to washing down - it will literally erode to nothing. 
 

Again, thanks for the post. I have a lot of work to do before tomorrow. Double screens it is! 

 

Look in both places, but the matrix lumps of interest will be right along the water-line. As the river continues to drop, more material becomes exposed. Stuff that tumbles down from the banks will end up all over the place. It can end up in the center of the riverbed below the origin spot and then it can be transported over time, so I have found small chunks of matrix in my sifter without any apparent similar rock nearby.

 

Me personally, I don't use the window screen and look for the really *tiny* stuff. I discard almost everything that falls through a 1/4" screen, although I also use 1/8" on occasion at home. I know I should go through the tinier stuff, but I just don't have the patience, steady hand, and good eyes for it.

 

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19 minutes ago, Jen Morris said:

Is it best to look for mix in the middle of the riverbed or more along the sides?  I know digging directly into banks is a BIG no no. From what I’m reading the sought after material is better if it’s been in the same place as opposed to washing down - it will literally erode to nothing. 
 

Again, thanks for the post. I have a lot of work to do before tomorrow. Double screens it is! 

Other than chunks of recently broken out matrix in conglomerate form as shown above, the loose micro-matrix you'll be gathering will come from wherever in the river bed you are finding gravel deposits. Most of that gravel has come from fairly far upstream but occasionally you'll find a spot where you can see the matrix layer that is the source of the fossils. If I was by that section of the river, I'd probably be digging up chunky micro-matrix from near the bank where it is eroding out (but not from the bank itself).

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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7 hours ago, Harry Pristis said:

The bone on the left is a deer astragalus.  I don't recognize the object on the right, but it is not a typical turtle scapula

 

That definitely looks like it. Great eye as always Harry!  :)

 

I guess I'll keep looking for one of those whale ear bones. I have yet to find an intact example.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Harry Pristis said:

The bone on the left is a deer astragalus.

Ah, of course! So obvious in hindsight. ;)

 

1 hour ago, Bone Daddy said:

I guess I'll keep looking for one of those whale ear bones. I have yet to find an intact example.

Cetacean tympanic bullae are reasonably common in the section of the Peace I hunt (one site turned up over two dozen one day). The trick is finding one that is not all worn down which is difficult because the thin portion is fragile and wears away quickly.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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joshuajbelanger

I do miss a low and slow peace....that's ok, my new river is 40 million years old and BONE dry.

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