Tag : river

Life Abounds Along Rhode Island’s Rivers and Coves

Laptew Chronicles
Rhode Island’s Web of Life

Part 1

River Otter

River otters can live 10 to 20 years.  These three and half to four foot long mammals depend on clean water and a healthy supply of fish, frogs, snakes, mice, birds, crayfish and mussels. 

otter swims along surface of the pond
The river otter is a long, sleek, muscular animal

North Kingstown otter in Annaquatucket River
When otters dive their ears and nose close

River otters digest and metabolize food so quickly that food passes through their intestines within an hour.

The web feet and slim profile allow otters to fly through the water

The web feet and slim profile allow otters to fly through the water

Click to enlarge any of these images

Snowy Egret

The snowy egret stalks the marshes, coves and rivers for small bait fish such as mummichog, spearing, sand eel or sand lance

egret charges mummichog

Snowy egret charges a school of mummichogs

egret strikes

The egret strikes with lightning speed

egret strikes at mummichog

The snowy seizes the mummi behind the gills

snowy egret squeezes a mummichog with its powerful bill

A good squeeze and a shake and the mummi is about to be eaten

 

Snowy egret gulps down a fat little mummichog

Snowy egret gulps down a fat little mummichog

Muskrat

These semi-aquatic rodents feed primarily on aquatic plants and they can be found in slow-moving-streams, coastal and freshwater marshes, lakes, ponds and swamps.

muskrat swimming to shore

A muskrat swims toward the shoreline

A muskrat heads to a feeding station with a mouthful of weeds
With a mouthful of weeds the muskrat heads for its den

They are prodigious and can  produce up to 3 litters per year, each with 6 to 7 young.  Breeding takes place from late March through July.

 

Osprey – The Fish Hawk

When the ospreys return to Rhode Island they start tidying up their nests with sticks and grass.  Osprey mate for life and return to the same nest year after year.

An osprey bringing marsh grass to nest

Osprey building nest with marsh grass and twigs

An osprey carries a load of nesting material

A full load of nesting material

 

An osprey hold a herring in its talons

Osprey grasps herring in its talons

River Herring

Alewives and blueback herring  have an enormous impact on the environment and they are a vital component to the food chain.

A group of volunteers help the Rhode Island Dept. of Fish of Wildlife scoop out and transport herring to an aerated truck.  These herring will be transferred to the Pawcatuck watershed where they will fortify 1300 acres and 8 stream miles.
A group of volunteers help fish and wildlife scoop herring

Herring Heroes scoop and transport fish

River herring stack up in a shallow pool

River herring stack up in a shallow pool

Herring transport truck

Worker dumps herring into transport truck

Check back for Rhode Island’s Web of Life – Part 2


Narrow River – Wide Assortment of Wildlife

Headwaters of the Pettaquamscutt or Narrow River

Gilbert Stuart Birthplace

Gilbert Stuart's birthplace is the site of a fish ladder

Anadromous Fish Return from the Sea to Spawn

Alewives return to their natal river

Alewives return to their natal river

 

Catadromous Species Spawn at Sea and Their Offspring Journey into Freshwater

glass eels

glass eels

After hatching in the Sargasso Sea, “glass eels” or elvers infiltrate streams, creeks and marshes in Rhode Island

elvers or glass eels

transparent eels

eel in brackish pond

 

These resilient animals can live over 20 years in our ponds and lakes before heading back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and die

American eel
American Eel

Rhode Island Ospreys Mate Above the Narrow River

This pair of fish-hawks mate high above the Narrow River, also known as the Pettaquamscutt River. After mating,  the male osprey scoured the area looking for suitable nesting material. I hope he finds enough river herring to support his future nestlings.

The “Fish Moon” and River Herring

Herring Return on Full Moon The Full Moon in April Motivates Herring to Move The 2012 herring run started early this year; perhaps due to the unseasonably warm temperatures in March.  However, very few herring ran up the river during the last week–I was getting a little nervous. Did the industrial fleet of pair trawlers [...]

Getting to Know Big Blue

Learning the routine of fish and fowl is the first step to getting interesting imagery

budding birch tree

Budding birch tree will soon fill out

The woods are still pretty barren, but most trees are about to bud and it won’t be long before their full size leaves once again shield the animals of the forest from casual view.

great blue heron flies through the brush

Great blue heron flies through the brush

It’s taken a little while, but I’ve got the timing pretty well pegged for finding Mr. Blue either feeding or rousting for the evening.  It’s great that indeed these are “creatures of habit.”

Great Blue Heron Flaps its Massive Wings

Quick and Nimble Means a Meal

Tide Line Buffet

This collage of shots shows what happens in less than half a second  

Sandpiper pulls out a worm

Sandpiper pulls out a worm

Sandpipers stalk the surf line and when the waves recede they look for meals in the mud and sand.

Yesterday, I also found a number of ducks at the southeast corner of Mackerel Cove, Jamestown, Rhode Island…including this rather vocal specimen.

Red-breasted Merganser Ducks

A red-breasted Merganser with something to say

On the Lookout for River Herring

Hunting for Herring

Yesterday afternoon I went looking for river herring…I wasn’t the only one.

A great blue heron swooped in and kept an eye open for returing alewives.  We were both out of luck.

A great blue heron flys through the trees

A great blue heron flys through the trees

Last night was a return to winter-like conditions with freezing temperatures that shut down the run of herring.  It seems both me and the heron were out of luck.

 

The Last Few Days Have Been Ducky

This is a great time of year for watching birds, especially ducks.  The display of colors is breathtaking and seeing the same ducks return to the same ponds, puddles, creeks, and rivers is a welcomed sight.  The quacking in the marsh behind my house is another matter.

Along the mighty Blackstone River

The Blackstone River – Fueled the Industrial Revolution

It was eye opening to see all the access points that have been established along this beautiful and historic river.

The completed bike path offers an outstanding opportunity to ride alongside the river without the hassles of dealing with traffic.

 

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