NANFA-L-- Sipsey, Alabama, trip

Subject: NANFA-L-- Sipsey, Alabama, trip
From: Bruce Stallsmith (
Date: Sun Jul 25 2004 - 17:43:50 CDT

I want to post a note on a visit to the Borden Creek/Sipsey Fork are in
north 'bama this weekend. Four people camped out on the site Friday and
Saturday nights--Casper Cox, Stott Noble, Ranger Bob, Michael Wolf. I showed
up with Ruth, Joe Scanlan showed up with Marite, and two of my students from
UAH in Huntsville, Kevin and Amy, were there.

My focus was on finding 20 each of burrhead shiner and silverstrip shiner
for a project I'm working on with Kevin and Amy. The silverstripes are easy,
they're probably the dominant species in Borden Creek. The burrheads are
always harder, we met our quota late in the day when we caught about 8 in
each of two successive seine hauls-in-the bottom of a riffle running into a
pool. It's only taken since March but I'm beginning to figure out the
burrheads, in part realizing that sometimes it's just plain lucky to put the
seine in the right place-in-the right time. And because they're thinner than
silverstripes, we have to use my smaller, finer-mesh seine.

One species that we found several of yesterday is the riffle minnow,
Phenacobius catostomus. I don't recall seeing this minnow before. But we
were probably helped by the creek being-in-a low level. And on the goofy
level, the snorkelers were pulling up blackbanded darters, Percina
nigrofasciata, that I hadn't paid attention to in earlier visits. Sometimes
you see only what you expect to see; the creek is loaded with Mobile
logperch and a fair number of muscadine darters, two other Percina spp. I
think the snorkelers missed out on the Tuskaloosa and Sipsey darters in the
very shallow riffles that we worked with a net. The Tuskaloosa males are
still colorful even this late in the summer.

I left Borden Creek in the late afternoon yesterday before the four campers
returned from Sipsey Fork, so I'm not sure what else they saw. A big
difference is that you can see more redhorse there, usually in a flash of
course as they go whipping by-in-high speed. Even in Borden Creek, Michael W
was still in shock from seeing one going by in about a tenth of a second.

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A

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: Wed Sep 29 2004 - 12:21:34 CDT