Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Son Of A Ditch



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The photo above is a flotilla of "water bugs" swirling the surface of a roadside drainage ditch. I love ditches. I spent countless hours in them as a kid, chasing frogs and dipnetting minnows, tadpoles, salamanders, all kinds of life. I still throw a bucket and dipnet in the Jeep when I am just out poking around, just in case I come across a good ditch to check out.
Anything really neat goes in the bucket and into my pond, or sometimes into an aquarium for a while.



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(you really should go to Vitaminsea and see Laura's superior shot of a bee working a plant)

The above photo is pickeral weed in bloom. The ditches are full of it and blue flag iris right now. I've moved a few of these from roadside ditches to a small wetland I am creating next to my pond. They are scraping the ditches nearby, getting ready for hurricane season and I was able to rescue a few plants ahead of the excavating. The ditches are temporarily barren after the scraper reshapes them, but they revegetate pretty quickly.


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Those are apple snail eggs on the pickeral weed leaves above.
The little snails will hatch out and plop into the water after a few weeks. Apple snail eggs are everywhere this time of year. Any stump, stick, or emergent plant will have clusters of pinkish-white eggs stuck to them. The adult snails are huge...about the size of a big plum.

No Hick, I don't know if these snails are good to eat. I think if they were, people would be gathering them routinely and I haven't heard of that. They are eaten by some pretty neat birds like limpkins and snail kites.

Keep your eyes peeled...
If you see a red Jeep parked next to a ditch, it's just me.

10 comments:

Thunder Dave said...

Again, nice photos!

I really think this year is going to be a vicious one for storms. I hope you know that if one looks like it's heading your way, and you feel like getting out of town for awhile, we've got room!

Of course, we should be in for a few tornados this year too!

Lightnin said...

FC-
Were those apple snail eggs that we saw on the trunk of a tree at the springs when we were there? Thunder got a great shot of them. Did you ever get the photo disc?

Hick said...

Size of a plum?!?

I was fascinated with that little bit of info you provided so I went to the apple snail website. They are real beauties.

...they do look pretty tasty, too.

Just kiddin'. It's been a few years since I had snails to eat. I think I'm past that phase in my life.

Then again...I just got a stovetop smoker...

Floridacracker said...

Thunder,
I'll keep that invite in mind.

Lightnin,
Got it, plan to post them soon, but haven't got around to it yet.

Hick,
We have a stove top smoker too...any pan that my daughter Katie is cooking in at the time, and of course there is my son's flaming microwaved fried plantains...the table leg and linoleum still bear the burn scars from that little fiasco.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Playing in drainage ditches is such a pure-fun kid thing to do. I love that you are still playing like that.

Very funny about your stove-top smoker and flaming microwaves. Kids really do have interesting ways of cooking.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Really great post. I used to gather things myself for relocation. I had some wild iris' that I gathered from the back of my property and moved them to a stream near my pond where they have flourished and I can now see them on a regular basis.

My net is now stored in my building and perhaps I should bring it out and put it back in my jeep...you never know what surprises you bring up, and it's so much fun.
The kids always loved to see the what came up with the net.

Have fun saving plants and seining in ditches...You make me wish I was young again.

Laura said...

Ohhh, great shots, FC! I have seen those eggs before, but didn't know what they were. (get such an education whenever I stop by here.)
I've seen the limpkins around my neighborhood, but always thought it was an Ibis...good thing you posted that link!


Thanks for the promo to my site!

Floridacracker said...

RD,
If I'd spent less time in ditches, I'd probably know more about sports...oh well.

Abandoned,
Get that net wet! Times a'wasting...

Laura,
Juvenile white ibis are brown with curved bills too, soooo ya' might be seeing them, especially if it's around salt water. Limpkins really like freshwater wetlands and have a haunting cry that you can not forget...spooky.
You're welcome for the link, your bee/flower pictures were really beautiful.

doubleknot said...

Your picture is different and beautiful even if it is bugs.
Already been to Vitaminsea and saw her fantastic pictures. Just love the bee one - I think I can see the bee's knees in it, ha, ha.

Floridacracker said...

doubleknot,
Yup, Laura nailed the bee in a flower category, really a great shot.