Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fish of the Creek

May 26th - June 1st

I've already made two posts about my week spent watching Rough-winged Swallows in a downtown Ithaca creek and the various animal encounters I had - including Sea Lamprey spawning, and a Northern Watersnake delivering me a big Tessellated Darter. Here's all the rest of my fish sightings from that week, compiled into one nice big post for your (and my) convenience.

Banded Killifish (Fundulidae: Fundulus diaphanus): saw this one near a school of fry. Couldn't catch it, but this photo was used to identify it on NANFA based on the upturned mouth, banded sides, etc.

Yellow Perch (Percidae: Perca flavescens): terrible picture of a lovely (and tasty) species.

Common Shiner (Cyprinidae: Luxilus cornutus): the fish highlight of the week (after the lampreys spawning of course) was finding a huge male Common Shiner in spawning colors. Something was wrong with this guy (do they die after spawning? I don't think so) and he was easy to scoop up and examine. I LOVE this fish... check out his spiny tubercles on the head, the lovely subtle pinks and greens on the body, the red fins, the pattern of three dark stripes down the back that I use to identify non-spawning individuals.

Rainbow Trout (Salmonidae: Oncorhynchus mykiss): I encountered a school of these young trout in one of the deeper portions of the creek. They would tend to stay deep but rise frequently to pluck at potential food items on the surface. Here are my bad photos:

Northern Hog Sucker (Catostomidae: Hypentelium nigricans): terrible photo of a good-looking species of sucker.

White Sucker (Catostomidae: Catostomus commersonii): I easily could've made death the running theme of my creek posts - the lampreys dying after spawning, the darter in the mouth of the watersnake, the shiner, and now these. Several large White Suckers inhabited the deeper pools under a bridge, and at least two or three of them were afflicted with some kind of disgusting rot. On one individual I watched the rot progress over the course of three days. It made me worry about my feet after wading in that same water.

Sucker #1

Sucker #2, day 1

Sucker #2, day 2
Rudd (Cyprinidae: Scardinius erythrophthalmus): I saw a school of this introduced cyprinid (minnow and carp family) that I originally mistook for goldfish. Luckily the helpful folks at NANFA corrected me. I was unaware that this was in the Cayuga Lake drainage, but they must be doing well if I saw a bunch in spawning colors.

Unknown fry: a constant presence around the shallows where I sat and watched my swallow pair were these massive schools of fry of unknown species. I took a panorama of them to count, but I'm kinda sick of that after my bullfrog experience.

Fallfish (Cyprinidae: Semotilus corporalis): I cornered this lifer cyprinid in a shallow pool long enough to capture a few photos. Nothing fancy about this fish, but it's always fun to see new species

Darters (Percidae: Etheostoma spp.): In addition to the Tessellated Darter already posted, I saw a few darters going about their business unmolested by Nerodia. The first fish is a Fantail Darter (E. flabellare) and the second is a Tessellated (E. olmstedi). I even found a nest on the underside of rock, after accidently scaring away the individual guarding it (I think a Fantail, but I'm not sure).

Smallmouth Bass (Centrarchidae: Micropterus dolomieui): There were a few of these in the deeper pools under the bridge, where a few people took a shot at fishing for them over the course of the week. I saw no successful attempts, however.

No comments:

Post a Comment