Bear Brook Haven of Diversity (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

28 September finds me painting another view of Bear Brook - this time near its confluence with the South Nation. Here it has steep, wooded banks and a broader stream. The water is only slightly milky with clay down the centre, and dark green algae in streaks and patches on the firm clay bottom show in lovely viridian streaks from where I sit on one of the rocks that were tumbled down the bank when they built the bridge.

Fred has gone upstream, and and our friend Andrew is out of sight downstream.  They begin to find the same diversity of mussels that Fred found at this place in 2007, as well as Flat-sided Horn Snails in huge abundance, embedded in the coarse algal fur of the rocks (at first we'd thought they were Zebra Mussels!) and grooving the bottom with a dense network of snail trails. I hear a sudden large splash behind me and turn to see Fred rising up from the water after slipping on the bank. Wading, where the water is shallow enough, is safer than walking along the slippery clay banks!
Fred and Andrew both return with bags full of clam shells, including two Butternuts still in their green husks, and one old shell, found in the stream, which suggest that a healthy tree of this endangered species is somewhere nearby.

Records from today in Fred's database shows that Bear Brook is still a haven for Unionid mussels from the Zebra Mussels that have taken over the main channel of the South Nation River, including the main channel species Leptodea fragilis and Potamilus alatus (this is the first time Potamilus has been found in a tributary). The hope for Bear Brook persisting as a refuge is that it doesn't have any empoundments on it, so there is no place for the Zebras to build up a population.

2011/261/ee, Elliptio complanata (Eastern Elliptio). abundant adult, shell, specimen. many seen alive near bridge, many mostly old shells.

2011/261/ef, Lampsilis ovata (). abundant adult, shell, captured, specimen. many seen alive near bridge, many mostly female shells.

2011/261/eg, Ligumia recta (Black Sand-Shell). 6/several adult, shell, captured, specimen. several seen alive near brdge, mostly ca 100 mm shells. Shells include a small valve (39.5 mm), 2 pairs and 3 valves, largest 115.3 mm.

2011/261/eh, Lasmigona costata (Fluted Shell). 3/few adult, shell, captured, specimen. few seen alive, 2 pairs, 1 valve, elongate shells, largest 101 mm.

2011/261/ei, Alasmidonta undulata (Heavy-toothed Wedge Mussel). 2 shell, specimen. 2 valves, old ca 68.5, fairly fresh 69 mm.

2011/261/eja, Leptodea fragilis (Fragile Paper-Shell). 1 shell, specimen. fairly fresh 90.5 mm pair.

2011/261/ejb, Potamilus alatus (Pink Heelsplitter). 1 shell, specimen. fairly fresh, barely alate 96.2 mm pair.

2011/261/ek, Strophitus undulatus (Squaw-Foot). 1 shell, specimen. heavy, fairly fresh 85 mm pair.


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