Sunday, July 14, 2024

A Bladder Snail

I found this small dark snail on a piece of rope in our lake, and it was a new species to me. It appears to be a bladder snail, an air breathing snail that lives in fresh water, common throughout the Americas. They have a small chamber between their shells and their body, in which air becomes trapped and oxygen is assimilated. They must therefore climb plants or float to the surface for air on a regular basis.


They have a left handed spiral, referred to as sinistral, and no operculum (trapdoor). They feed on detritus, as well as diatoms and algae. Physidae


they have a cavity in the shell that is used for gas exchange. Most species maintain a bubble of air in the cavity, and occasionally refresh it at the surface of the water. A few species fill the cavity with water, and live without ever approaching the surface.I love how its antennae make it look like a wild steer! The snail's eyes are situated at the base of these tentacles, which cannot be withdrawn.


they have a cavity in the shell that is used for gas exchange. Most species maintain a bubble of air in the cavity, and occasionally refresh it at the surface of the water. A few species fill the cavity with water, and live without ever approaching the surface.
they have a cavity in the shell that is used for gas exchange. Most species maintain a bubble of air in the cavity, and occasionally refresh it at the surface of the water. A few species fill the cavity with water, and live without ever approaching the surface.
they have a cavity in the shell that is used for gas exchange. Most species maintain a bubble of air in the cavity, and occasionally refresh it at the surface of the water. A few species fill the cavity with water, and live without ever approaching the surface.

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Never Stop Exploring ...

Oh wow! I was looking closely at the seeds on an aquatic plant in my water tray, using a magnifying loupe, when this amazing and unknown miniscule little blob floated by. Of course, it sparked a major inquiry and investigation into what it could be ... and it got me really enthused!

 

The most plausible explanation and photos I could find, was that it's likely a Bryozoan statoblast, an asexual mass of cells that is shed from the parent colony. It can remain dormant for quite some time, but is able to develop into a zooid and start a new colony when conditions become favorable. This clonal technique is unique to freshwater bryozoans.

Here is a close up of the hard core, and the little spines around its edges


And then it grows into a colony of invertebrate filter feeders like this, which can get really large and heavy, weighing several pounds.


 Oh man! If I hadn't been focusing on the seed details of the pondweed, I'd never have known such a thing existed. What an amazing find, and I just stumbled on it by chance! I'm so glad I stopped and investigated that seemingly innocuous blob - so exciting!



Friday, July 12, 2024

Dragonfly

Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)


I was happy to share a sunny spot with this handsome specimen, also known as a long-tailed skimmer. With time, its abdomen will become whiter and less blue.

They breed in lakes and ponds, and feed on aquatic larvae.


Thursday, July 11, 2024

Heat Stress

Some of my plants are looking quite heat stressed this summer, so I decided to photograph some of the different manifestations of it, when this cute little critter inserted itself into my shot, quite by accident. I was aiming at the black-edged Wild ginger leaf.

This poor Sensitive fern is taking some strain in the burning heat we've had this summer - but it's made a pretty pattern of it!

Burnt to a crisp! Poor Coneflower


Jewelweed is drooping. but other plants look fine.



Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Yellow Beauties

The flowers of our aquatic bladderworts look so much like snapdragons, gracefully held above the water by a long flower stalk. This is the Common Bladderwort, Utricularia vulgaris, amongst the floating leaves of another yellow beauty, Spatterdock.

The rigid flower stalk of Spatterdock (Nuphar lutea) needs no assistance, but the pinkish, less robust Watershield flower benefits from the supportive, protected spaces that Spatterdock's floating leaves provide.


If you don't stop and look closely at what initially looks like a monoculture of Spatterdock, you'd miss the Bladderwort and Watershield (Brasenia schreberi) flowers interspersed among them.




Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Pink Things (3)

My native rose (Rosa virginiana) had a single flower this year, but it looked magnificent against the green foliage surrounding it, even though it was past its peak by the time I took this next photo.


Monday, July 8, 2024

Pink Things (2)

Though this flower looks exquisite, I recognized it as an introduction (not native to the U.S.) that is known to be 'vigorous and free-flowering' (Dianthes), so I decided to remove it after I'd taken some photos. Yes, I'm ruthless that way!

Sometimes it's hard sticking to natives only ...


Sunday, July 7, 2024

Pink Things (1)

I'm very pleased that my native Purple Flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus) is doing its thing and looking pretty showy - the ghostly-looking bug on the faded bloom caught my eye, too.

The insect is an immature snowy tree cricket (Oecanthus fultoni), a North American native. There are tiny black marks all along its antennae, if you look closely.


Saturday, July 6, 2024

Festivities

There were quite a few fireworks displays on our lake over the July 4th weekend, which is not unusual. We decided to kayak across to Bay Cove to see the annual display that residents put on. When we set off, it was still light, but we had equipped our kayaks with lights for the return trip.

We sat and waited, along with all the other boats and residents, for darkness to settle in.


This display is always accompanied by music, which makes the mood all the more festive. Here are a few samples from our evening.





Friday, July 5, 2024

Water Striders

This seething, moving mass on the water's surface was fascinating to watch, and of course, it would dissipate if one got too close. It's an agglomeration of water striders moving about en masse.


When I got close, they'd split up, and I only managed to get a fuzzy pic of a few of them so you can see their shapes better.


Thursday, July 4, 2024

Beauty and the Beast

Whilst photographing the details of this magnificent Pale Beauty Moth from the water, 

I noticed something peeking out from under the leaves in the background,


so decided to zoom in, and was lucky enough to capture this spider devouring a caterpillar - I suspect the mess on the leaf below is from the battle. The spider looks like it has a mischievous little monkey face to me!






Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Ahhh, Rainbows and Fireflies

You've all heard of rainbows and unicorns, a description of an unrealistic scenario, but what about rainbows and fireflies? We experienced both on the same day at the end of June - all without a camera, mind you, so you're just going to have to believe me. It definitely happened!

The rainbow was seen whilst out swimming, and it was the broadest swathe of color I've ever seen arc across a moody sky. It made it easy to discern all 7 colors, and the dark sky made it so much more intense.

We walked down our boardwalk just as it was getting dark and the fairy-like twinkles of fireflies in the woods filled me with joy. I just had to stand still to take it in, and exclaim how happy it made me.


Twinkling like embers

Fireflies light up the woods -

Flirtatious sparkles.


These two occurrences were a great "pick-me-up" on a day when one of our cars failed its inspection (☹️), and when we confirmed the invasive European naiad (Najas minor) was growing back in a cove that had been treated last year. Rainbows and fireflies salvaged our day.

Here I am inspecting the shallows, and double checking details by floating plants in a frisbee.



Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Friendly Squirrel

My current coffee companion- she's ready and waiting on the deck for our appearance each morning. So trusting - we all ought to exercise a little of that ...



Monday, July 1, 2024