Thursday, April 9, 2015

Emerald Green and Awesome

Algae covers everything and is a sure sign spring is progressing. This creek gets green and hairy this time every year. It is a brilliant emerald green algae, and accentuates the occasional orange cobble that shows through. Different species of fish have set up shop in different habitats of the stream. The banded killifish school, which is noticeably larger than two weeks ago, hovers above the gravel bar on the upstream edge of the deep pool under the rail road bridge, the way snappers school and hold above a reef wall. A school of black nosed dace dart between the branches of a partly submerged red maple branch in swift current over a yellow sand veined red clay bottom. Darters hop from cobble to cobble throughout the whole stream, annoyed by my presence. A juvenile copper and orange northern hog sucker uses micro eddys formed by cobbles among sand and gravel to explore the middle, where the current is the most swift. It is wary of me, darts across the current, and settles against a green furry rock. The frilly algae looks like green shag carpet that partly envelops the hogsucker. Stoney Creek is waking up from winter. More sunlight drives more algal production, more of the foundation of the aquatic food web. Fish respond to warmer temperatures by emerging from their wintertime retreats and Stoney Creek is once again emerald green and awesome.

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