Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September 14, 2016 - Slugs, A Love Story, a.k.a. Debauchery on the Doorstep

The last few weeks I've had leopard slugs crawling around on my porch, making a scene.  I took a picture of these a few weeks ago, as they slithered up the side of the building looking for a place to mate.

It was late though, and I went to bed before they consummated their relationship.

If you are wondering why I would care, slugs, or at least leopard slugs, have a bizarre reproductive ritual worth seeing.  What is that, you say?  Well, you are in luck, two slugs got busy on my doorstep last night, borrowing my charcoal grill for their midnight (it was actually about 10 PM, maybe) tryst:

The slugs suspend from a string of mucous attached to my charcoal grill:
 They extend their penises:
 And intertwine them:

 They exchange sperm packets
 And separate:
One drops to the ground:

And the other glides up the mucous string and then crawls around on my grill some more.

They then crawl off and lay eggs, which will then hatch and then the baby slugs will terrorize my front porch.

September 10, 2016 - Around Culpeper

Went fishing, intending to also scout locations to put the canoe into the Rapidan and Robinson Rivers.

The first spot I went, there were a couple of rednecks sitting on the bank dunking worms and drinking beer, so I went elsewhere, a few miles downstream.

The river was low, and the character of this river seems to be dominated by sand and silt bottoms at this point.  Nothing much to be seen in the way of structure, although at some point, it would appear the river was less burdened by sediment, since there were still rocks to be seen poking up through the muck.

Didn't catch anything, lost heart pretty quick, and decided to go elsewhere.

On the walk back to the car, I picked up a traveler, a marbled orb weaver, which I figured would provide some point of interest even if fishing was a bust:

Then I went over to the Robinson. Same basic character as the Rapidan, but with more shade, and more structure due to more fallen trees in the stretch I fished.

Waded upstream, casting a small chartreuse popper.  Caught a number of pumpkinseed, a fallfish, and a couple of smallmouth, one of which probably counts as pretty decent for this water.  

Eventually, I got hot and tired, and my wading/tennis shoes were full of sand and gravel, so I got out, picked up a couple of grocery bags worth of trash, and made my way back to town.

Ate dinner, then ran errands, afterwards stopping at a stormwater pond to fish.  Had one strike that I missed, but got a grainy, out-of-focus picture of what I can only assume is an immature plesiosaur.

September 3, 2016 - Clear Creek Lake

Went to Clear Creek Lake with my father.  Didn't catch anything, but did see this bird, the likes of which I can't recall ever having seen before.  With some internet searching, it appears this is a black-crowned night heron.  Who knew such a thing existed?