Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Son Of A Ditch
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.
(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.
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.
Posted by R.Powers at 5:04 AM