NANFA-- Black Redhorse sighting (from land!)

Bruce Stallsmith (
Sat, 03 Apr 2004 20:33:30 -0500

My wife Ruth and I went hiking today along Borden Creek in the Sipsey Fork
drainage in AL. We've done a number of collecting trips there, but I've
never hiked on the trail system that runs through this Wilderness. As part
of our wandering today we went south from the trailhead on the west side of
the creek. We took a break on a large boulder in the creek, which is
extremely clear, and then Ruth noticed a large number of fish in the pool
lined up facing into the current. There must have been at least 50 redhorse
suckers (probably Black, from the fin color) just hanging out over the sand
and cobble in water less than a meter deep. Most were about 30 cm long. We
watched for about 20 minutes, and nothing much happened.I assume that
they're doing their spawning run up the creek from the Sipsey.This is my
first experience with that many redhorse in one place at one time... maybe
I've lead a sheltered life.

Along with fun fish, we also saw an amazing diversity of wildflowers and
butterflies. The Solomon Seal is up all over the damp forest floor, and
Virginia Bluebells were all in flower in the sand along the creek. We even
found a patch of yellow violets, in the middle of the more typical purple
ones. There were hundreds and hundreds of zebra and tiger swallowtail
butterflies out and often all visible simultaneously, along with other
species I couldn't ID.

For those of you who want to be up on your Choctaw vocabulary, the word
Sipsey means tulip poplar tree. I just read that this week. (And the creek
is lined with a bunch of them.)

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A
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