Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer - time to catch a giant fish!

David lives in Glenloch Farms near The Woodlands, Texas. On this Saturday, his dad brought him out to do a little summertime fishing. Sure it is hot, but the fish are in the water, and the water has not yet reached the temperatures to push them to the cooler depths. I heard David yelling in excitement. "Dad, this fish is huge!". His pole was bent over and he was struggling to keep the fish on his hook. His dad brought the net and held the rod while David reaped the fruit of his labor. Now this was a prize and I just happened to be there to photograph the event. Thanks to these visitors to The Woodlands, I am able to show what is happening today on our ponds.  Congratulations on a nice catch!

Ponds in The Woodlands, like the other ponds in Southeast Texas, usually contain Large Mouth Bass and Blue Gill perch among other varieties. Sometimes, there will be catfish and crappie also. The food chain is typically mosquito larvae, bugs, mosquito fish, worms, perch, and bass. Crayfish and frogs also play a role in the food chain, especially for bass. 

Like fishermen usually do,this boy gladly followed the rules of the park system and returned this fish to its home, hopefully to spawn next spring or even be caught a few times more. Fish get smarter after being caught, more wise in what to eat and what not to eat.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Down on the pond - the jewels of the forest

Have you ever given any thought to being a dragonfly watcher? Here in The Woodlands, like almost anywhere there is water, summer is dragonfly time!  People talk readily about the popular outings of bird watchers, but you don't hear too much about Butterfly or Dragonfly watching. Dragonflies are interesting creatures. If you have the imagination of a child like I sometimes do, you know that this creature can be seen in a mysterious light. Check my story for children on the topic. It's not for children, it is for us too. We need to let our minds be open. Adults really do not need children to unlock their brains. I can definitely say however that children have been a key ingredient in my life to allow to see what I have lost over time, the ability to see the truth and beyond in nature.

Damselflies are usually less seen. Look at the wings placement that gives it the unique characteristic, readily identifying it. I looked for one today and found it quickly, but staying more in the background and away from the shore. 

Have you ever imagined why the Dragonfly is just sitting there overlooking the water? Have you watched what they do with territorial struggles? Do you know why they are near ponds? Clue - it's summertime. These jeweled creatures hunt mosquitoes. In metamorphosis, they start their lives hatching from eggs on plants above the water and are first creatures of the water. During this stage, they eat mosquito larvae. Also they are a natural food source for baby fish. After the metamorphic change, they become creatures of the air, with jeweled wings that move independently. A Dragonfly can move what seems to be faster than a bullet, certainly faster than the human eye can detect. The Damselfly is a close cousin but cannot fly as well.

If a male mates a female in another males territory, the dominant male can remove the sperm of the intruder to ensure his offspring is only his offspring. He also usually plays a role in making sure the female deposits her (his offspring) eggs in his territory.

There are a number of varieties and colors on our ponds. Take time to observe them and seek them out. Taking your children out on a Dragonfly hunt is a great deal of fun. Listen to them and their questions. Read the article at this link and read this story that I wrote a couple of years ago. Then put your own story together. Be imaginative. That is what your children will do.  Enjoy the moment. I guess I am just a child at heart, aren't you?