Tidbits from Sunday

Sunday was a beautiful day. We headed out onto the pond (of course!) and then up into the swamp. We were paddling with a friend from Vermont who has been down camping for the past few weeks. He really likes it here - well, except for the ticks ;) He didn't even complain (too much) when Treebeard insisted he look in a couple of hollow trees in order to see the bats within.

Below are a few snippets from our day. I didn't take nearly as many photos as I usually do. It was just so beautiful out I wanted to concentrate on being out and not so much on trying to capture images.

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Things have greened up quite a bit since our last paddle into the swamp a few weeks ago. The spatterdock (Nuphar lutea) has emerged, much to the delight of the beaver and nutria who have been nibbling off the leaves. Guess everyone enjoys a fresh salad now and again.

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Although we usually see them mostly along the shoreline, the gambusia (aka mosquito fish) seemed quite happy swimming amidst the vegetation out in the middle of the pond. Good for them! Gobble up those wiggle-tails (mosquito larvae) little fishies, gobble 'em up!

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A nice fresh tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) enjoying a not-so-nice and fresh scat. Aren't you glad we get our salts and other essentials from more appetizing sources?

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The larger tree mid-frame is a bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum). It's one of those odd deciduous needle and cone-bearing trees -- hence the name, "bald". This one is extra special. Up there where it crooks off to the left there is a cavity and that cavity houses a beehive. We have found several bee trees up in the swamp this spring. I hope that's a good sign that there are at least a few healthy wild bees out there and that not all hives are suffering from colony collapse.

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Otters don't have discriminating tastes, it seems. The head and skin above belong to a blackfish, Amia calva (aka bowfin, grinnel, mudfish, dogfish, spottail). This was a small one - they can get up to nearly 43 inches and 20 pounds - but I'm sure it filled the tummy of the otter that caught it. Click on it to enlarge it and take a look at its teeth.
Blackfish are capable of breathing air and they are tolerant of high temperatures, both valuable traits for a fish living in a shallow southern coastal plain pond. They offer fishermen a nice fight but are not particularly tasty.

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A few of the least trillium (Trillium pusillum var. virginianum) are still blooming. We were surprised by that. They are usually through by the last week in March. This flower has some age on it as evidenced by its pink petals.

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Sceloporus undulatus hyacinthinus, such an impressive name for a lizard. Me, I prefer the common name, Fence Lizard. This one is just a youngster. Hopefully it will grow up to be a fine fat adult. As lizard's go, these are quite personable and even moderately tolerant of being observed. They aren't nearly as jumpy as skinks.

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Smacked tight to the trunk of a bald-cypress, this green treefrog (Hyla cinerea) was hiding in plain sight... just a whisper of Spanish moss breaking up its profile.
I can't help myself, I absolutely love these little amphibians and never pass up an opportunity to photograph them.

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It was a fine day spent in excellent company in my favorite place.
I am a very fortunate person.


Pablo said...

You probably see more in ten minutes than I see in an hour. Sounds like a wonderful day.

swamp4me said...

Perhaps, but I have never seen a round rock! Particularly not one that magically launched itself into space and, upon re-entering the atmosphere, landed with such fanfare down at PFHQ. ;)

Woodswalker said...

What a great tour of a special place, a place that obviously has great resonance for you! Thanks for taking this northern New Yorker along for the ride.

swamp4me said...

You are welcome to come along any time. I have been enjoying your posts recently, but I can't figure out how to leave a comment :/ I wanted to tell you that we have trailing arbutus here in the swamp, too. Sadly, I missed the blooms this year.

jozien said...

I can understand that you sometimes miss spotting something.
So much! I am a little overwhelmed.
Incredible, thanks for showing and sharing.

swamp4me said...

The swamp is full of life. It seems like we see something new each time we go out. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.