Last Friday, 14 July, Rick Rego and I went out on our weekly outing. We
started at a friend's cranberry bogs in Freetown, MA. This is a great site
which usually yeilds almost every warm water species found in southern New
England. We get more banded sunfish (Enneacanthus obesus) and swamp
darters (Etheostoma fusiform) here than anywhere else we've tried!
But, it seems the cards were stacked against us. The weather has been warm
and rain has been scarce. There were no fish in any of the areas shallow
enough to dip or seine. They must have been down deeper in cooler water.
All we found was a few juvenile bull frogs (Rana catesbeiana) and an
American toad (Bufo americanus). That was OK, after all herps were my
first love and I beleive Rego's too.
Not wanting to waste the daylight and not having any luck at the bogs we
decided to head to site #2: Cresant Beach, Mattapoisett, MA. This is an
ocean site and as we all know...there are plenty of fish in the sea. Some
dip netting through the rock weed (Fucus sp.), a little snorkling with a
hand net, and a couple of dags of the seine all yeilded the ubiquidous
inland silersides (Menidia berylina) and a couple juvenile northern
kingfish (Menticirrhus saxatilis). We moved to the east end of the beach
near a large salt marsh. Dipping and seineing produced cunners
(Tautogolabrus adspersus), tautog (Tautoga onitis), northern pipefish
(Sygnathus fuscus), striped killifish (Fundulus majalis) and mummichogs
(Fundulus heteroclitus). Try not finding mummis near a salt marsh. We also
were psyched to get only our third seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)in the
first drag at this site. It seemed to be a male with a full brood pouch.
Feeling quite happy with our quarry we decided we'd head out for lunch and
site #3: The east end (cape side) of the Cape Cod Canal, Sandwich, MA.
In Mattapoistett we were wading in the warm waters of Buzzard's Bay, now we
timidly creeped into the BRISK waters of the Gulf of Maine. We started
dipping... Finding the somewhat isolated rocks that supported a good growth
of seaweed and scooped through it. The were against us in Freetown, but we
were dealt a sweet hand at the canal! We caught dozens of grubbys
(Myoxocephalus aeneus), a few of rock gunnels (Pholis gunnellus) , a
juvenile winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus), and what we
really dug was the juvenile lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus). Before this we
had only collected one, today we got about half a dozen! They are the
cutest little fish as they trudge across the tank. We got a few cool
inverts too, but this is already a long lengthy account!
We had a hell of a day! This week we're planning two trips...some
frshwater collecting in the Wood River and surrounding ponds in southern
Rhode Island and some more marine collecting in Newport and Portsmouth RI.
Keep those feet and nets wet!
Catch you later (Some pun intended).
Bristol County Natural History Center/ Bristol Co. Agricultural School
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