Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nature Walk on the Warfield Property

Hi all, I'm back with more advetures from Captina Creek.  On Tuesday
we were lucky enough to be invited to tour the property of Mr. Dan
Warfield in Wayne TWP at the confluence of cranenest creek and
the south fork.  Dan is the one in the cowboy hat to the extreme left.
He had many great stories to share with us about the creek given that his
family has owned this property for 188 years!

Check out this guy!  He's not the most attractive creature in the
creek but has an interesting feature.  The mudpuppy Necturus maculosus
retains its gills throughout its life whereas most other amphibians lose them
as adults.  The gills are hard to see when the animal is lifted out of the water
but they are located on the rear sides of the head.  Mudpuppies eat crayfish
and like to hide under rocks in deeper pools where the bottom is well, muddy.
As if finding poppa wasn't cool enough!  These larval mudpuppies
were under the care of the dad shown above.  They are easily
distinguishable by the black and yellow bands that run parallel down
the lengths of their bodies.  Some will even have a bluish tint to their
undersides.  In mudpuppies the male will stay behind and care for the
young after the female lays eggs.  He will protect them from predators
like crayfish until they are able to fend for themselves.  This is a good
time of the year to find larval mudpuppies.
What a great find!  A variegate darter Etheostoma variatum
netted from one of the swiftly flowing riffles in the creek. 
This is one of the larger darter species in the watershed
ranging 3-4 inches as adults and also one of the most
colorful.  Males, when breeding, will have bright blue and red
bands on their bodies as well as a blue-green anal fin.  Females are
not as showy with four small red bands on their posterior sides.
Variegates are indicators of excellent water quality.
Notice how the creek bottom is solid limestone bedrock that stretches
for hundreds of feet.
Dan Warfield, on left in blue discusses the range of his property
while Greg Lipps, Kelly Capuzzi and Ron Preston discuss the best
pools to shock fish from. 
More posts from the nature walk tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment