Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Day Off

This is really what it's all about. We took an afternoon and walked along the Nolichuckey River. The ducks and geese all had their babies out on parade. The boys slowly walked toward the water and three young ducks came toward them. I think the ducklings were just as curious about the little boys as the boys were about them.

We got our feet wet and flipped rocks looking for wildlife. We found salamanders, crawdads, freshwater mussels, a bristle worm, mudpuppies, and a strange aquatic nymph most likely of a dragonfly or damselfly.

The mussels were very active. Once a rock was flipped and they were exposed, they immediately began to open up and use their foot to wedge themselves under the sediment. Some of the crawdads we found were around a quarter of an inch long, though we found one large on with a missing claw. The salamanders were probably mole salamanders, though there are several possible species. They were young and only about 2 inches long.

This tributary was too calm to house the larger creatures. Just once I'd like to see a hellbender, but we'll have to find a rushing stream in SW Virginia before I can see one of those. Imagine coming face to face with a 2 foot long giant salamander! Supposedly hellbenders can be found in streams in our area, but I haven't heard of anyone seeing one in a long time.


fluffnflowers said...

I think salamanders are some of the coolest little creatures ever! Thanks for sharing the critters you saw -- makes me wish I was closer to 'decent' water.

Shannon said...

This sounds like a great day off! I love all the creatures you can find by the water, and I thoroughly enjoyed looking through all the salamanders on one of the pages you linked too. It reminded me of my childhood, which involved a lot of salamander hunting. :)