Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rabbit Creek

Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) was in bloom near the shoreline.

On a smaller scale Dwarf Sundew (Drosera brevifolia) was about to bloom. This wetland plant supplements its need for nutrition by capturing and digesting insects. The yellow circle highlights one insect being eaten by the Sundew after it got stuck on the sticky droplets.

Fishing spiders are frequently seen on trees next to the water. Yes, these spiders capture and eat minnows.

What scares some people is just how big fishing spiders can get. This spider that was about 8 inches from leg tip to leg tip.

The fishing spiders do not bother me. What does is the storm water trash.

Motorized litter removal boats cannot reach this trash. This floating trash in Rabbit Creek can only be accessed by canoe or kayak. Unfortunately I know of no effective program in Mobile that regularly removes trash accumulations from upper creeks and tributaries. The City of Mobile, Mobile County, the State of Alabama, and all the environmental groups just ignore the waterway pollution even though some of it may be hazardous to public health and marine life.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dog River Orange Hues

Saw some Green Arrow Arum (Peltandra virginica) that had unusual orange colored stems.

Closeup of the stem seen in the above photo. Some research on the Internet revealed the orange color on the Green Arums is the result of Rust Fungi (Uromyces caladii). The Rust Fungi is known to grow on another member of the Arum Family called Jack in the Pulpit.

The plant Rust can also be seen on the top of some Green Arum leaves.

A closeup view of the Rust Fungi.

Sunset on Dog River is another source of orange hues.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dog River

Sailboat about to go under the Dog River bridge into Mobile Bay.

Sunset on placid Dog River.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dog River Great Drift

The 6th annual Dog River Great Drift was held yesterday. Despite the dreary forecast of cloudy skies in conjunction with a small craft advisory meaning windy conditions, 40-50 kayakers still participated. The launch was in Rabbit Creek at Rangeline Road and the destination was the Rivershack Restaurant about 5 miles away. 

Someone commented after finally getting to the destination that the name of the Great Drift is misleading because any Drifting they did resulted in the wind moving them backwards in the wrong direction.

10-20 feet away from the Rabbit Creek Rangeline Road launch site shows the ugliness of the Dog River watershed. Recyclable aluminum, plastic, glass and more pollutes the shoreline wetlands.

It is ignorant to let aluminum cans rot into the waterway environment but that is what is happening in ignorant Alabama where recycling is an option for a few instead of being a requirement for all.

Glass which is obviously being buried abundantly along Dog River Watershed's shoreline as seen here in Rabbit Creek next to Rangeline Road, is impermeable. That means less water will be able to seep into the groundwater aquifers as more and more glass acumulates along and in the bottom of the Earth's waterways. A bottle here and there after each heavy rain added to the waterway pollution will eventually add up after thousands of years of ignoring the recyclable glass pollution problem. What happens when all the drinking water aquifers dry up? Gulp.

After the Great Drift I went back to the start location to see how much litter was left behind. Remarkably, I was unable to find a single piece of litter left behind by the Great Drift participants or organizers. And I looked all over the launch and registration areas. Big Kudos go to Dog River Clearwater Revival, the participants and all the volunteers for leaving the ALDOT right-of-way cleaner than it was before the event!

The only sign that there was a bunch of people in the area was a few lines in the sand left behind from dragging some of the kayaks to the water.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dauphin Island

Good News and Bad News.

The good news is the almost $7 million dollar Dauphin Island east end beach restoration project that brought in 325,000 cubic yards of sand is complete. The new beach is proving to be popular.

The bad news is the free east end parking is limited and my favorite east end sheltered kayak launch has moved so far away from the now crowded parking area that it is not worth using anymore. Most of the formerly sandy shoreline is now a kayak un-launchable rock shoreline.

The new long rock shoreline is visible on the right. To launch at the sandy beach visible on the left side of the photo will require carrying the kayak across a painfully long stretch of new sand.

The north side of Little Dauphin Island Bay is enticing.

All the sand that was moved to Sand Island Lighthouse has been swept away.

The Mobile Bay ship channel is next to the lighthouse so you may get to some big ships up close while kayaking near the lighthouse. A porpoise or dolphin jumps out of the water while playing in the ship's bow wake.

Not much of a wake from this big ship hauling railroad cars.

The Fort Morgan ferry passes nearby as I head back across Mobile Bay on this Double Crosser kayak trip.

Pelicans flying nearby with an oil rig visible in the background.

Unique looking beach house.

Nifty looking plant sculpture.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Paynes Creek

Goose keeping its eggs warm.

Mosquito breeding boat.

Uh oh. No touch this flower. Poison Ivy.

Convict caterpillars munching on a Spider Lily.

Closeup reveals caterpiller legs are rather complex.

Saw an alligator which is a rare thing in Dog River Watershed. Unfortunately this alligator died way too young or someone killed it.

Sunset on Dog River.

Monday, April 04, 2016


Are trees growing eyes?

Is that poop about to come out of this tree's sphincter?

No, it is a slugfest in a tree hole. Seven or more 3-4 inch long Carolina Mantle Slugs (Philomycus carolinianus) were hunting their favorite food: fungus. Or maybe the slugs were using their love darts on each other.