August 25th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Another fish picture

I took fish pictures in both Westbrook and the main creek today--this is the best one.  It's a minnow perhaps 2 inches in length--don't know what yet.

Westbrook above the rock crossing has baby fish in all sizes from <1/2 inch to ~4 inches.   The rock crossing is keeping water up in that area much longer than it used to last--it's not exactly a dam, but it slows the flow down.  Westbrook below the rock crossing is getting only a trickle through the rocks, and no longer flows all the way to the south fenceline.   I've seen only the tiniest fish there, all under an inch in length.  I haven't explored the full length of the stream from the crossing to the south fence, though.  We're supposed to get rain this coming week, which will preserve the "fishery" somewhat longer. 
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

A long hot afternoon

We didn't start out early.  We should've started out early.  Instead, we dawdled about inside, thinking of things to do and starting them, and it was coming on toward noon when we finally got out of the house with the lopping shears for doing trail work and the camera for documenting things.  And the monopod and one liter of water.   And I hadn't eaten lunch.  I have got to quit not eating lunch when I'm heading out.  At least take some saltines with me.

Anyway.  We worked on the trail across to Owl Pavilion, and the trail along the south side of Westbrook from the rock crossing to the west entrance from the SW meadow.  When I say "we" worked, I mean I pointed things out and Richard cut them off with loppers and I pulled giant ragweed. 

Thanks to stupidity about lunch and only one liter of water between us, I kept having to sit down and rest, but I saw a lot of good stuff including the first migrating warbler I've seen this summer/fall (a yellow one, but not sure, thanks to slow hands on the camera, if it was a Yellow or  a Wilson's. Bright yellow, though--canary-like.)   Saw young Painted Buntings at Westbrook bathing and drinking.  Saw lots of damselflies ovipositing and some just sitting around (no Fragile Forktail today, though.)  Saw fish (see other post.)   Heard more birds than I saw (not counting buntings and yellow bird)--white-eyed vireos, red-bellied woodpecker, cardinals, wrens.  Also some new plant species, maybe more than one, and a metallic purple fly with magenta eyes.  A lot of this was over by Westbrook. 

Confused by some of the damsels.  One pair mating/ovipositing looked strange--the female looks like a Double-striped Bluet, but the male does not.    I thought at first he was a Blue-ringed Dancer, but now with his thorax colors.   But he also doesn't look like my other pictures of a Double-striped Bluet.  This will require bothering the experts again.  Poor experts.

Richard carried a chair to the main creek so I could sit on the west bank of it and look down at the longear sunfish's nest.  It wasn't bright enough for really good pictures, but I did get nice ones of a little rough green snake that was in a bush near us.   Blue dasher males were skirmishing up and down the creek ("MY creek!  MY perch!") which was fun to watch.  

We keep saying that if only *we* owned the upper end of the drainage, the creek would be permanent, not seasonal, and we could have fish and frogs and dragonflies and damselflies and turtles and crayfish and watersnakes and herons all the time.   What the creek needs is better management upstream, where it's overgrazed, channelized in places,  and the soil has lost its ability to hold water and replenish groundwater springs.  But...I would never get anything  but land done if I had more land to play with. 

And it was "only" 95 degrees in the shade when we came back in.  And I'm tired anyway.