Sunday, July 29, 2012

The 40th day of summer has ended, Sunday, July 29th, 2012. On the day of the Gizzard Shad, let's breath deeply for the remaining 54 days of summer.


I was working hard to correctly identify a flight of swallow that were
swooping around the marsh. The swallows had jet like wings and white
breasts, but I couldn't study their tail feathers as the birds flew a
fast and erratic course. Then, a Gizzard Shad swam up from Mona Lake,
and passed out in the creek. Sank to the bottom and went belly up. I
walked down to the stream to draw close and look for identifying
marks, and I am more sure about this identification. I had seen plenty
of Gizzard Shad floating down the stream when a die-off in 2008 killed
droves of them. At the point where Cress Creek and a slough join, a
bloom of algae has taken form. In Mona Lake, those blooms are gulping
up available dissolved oxygen. I wonder how far gone this Gizzard Shad
had felt when the found this more oxygenated creek. I haven't seen
blooms upstream. Even so, Cress Creek passes through residential
neighborhoods where nutrients from fertilized laws could run off into
the stream, feeding blooms and depleting oxygen.

My neighbor saw me walking the creek, and he wanted to look at the
fish too. One dead fish created community this early afternoon. He was
cleaning his hummingbird feeder, a retired Air Force man studying one
of nature's better designs, the hummingbird.

The Gizzard Shad has a role in sports fishing because Largemouth Bass
love to eat them. The Shad satisfies its hunger by eating zooplankton
and phytoplankton.

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