Wednesday, September 02, 2009

of trout, and the aquatic mammals that eat them

I was in the midst of another adventurous day at work. Lately, due to a coworker's taking family leave, I have been out more than in, sampling one stream after another with electricity. And you know what, I'm enjoying it, more than I have enjoyed any other work I've done (at work that is) since I can remember. In the last couple of weeks I have seen some nice waters, gotten to know a lot more of the local plants, and even seen a few brook trout.

I heard my cell phone signal a new voice mail. 99 percent of the time my cell phone messages are anything but urgent, but even though I was not in a strong signal area I decided to check it.

"Mom! There's a family of otters in the pond!"

My battery was going low, or I would have called back just to make sure I heard right. Today indeed a family of four otters had taken over the pond and were frolicking wildly! I wish I could have been there to see them. New wildlife sighting at Sand Creek!

Of course, this probably explains why last Friday, when we finally got around to sampling the stretch of Sand Creek that flows through my land, there were no trout. Otters eat fish, and they can take down the population of a brook trout stream easily.

But it does not explain why today, in a shallow, alder choked stretch of stream about five miles south of here, we sampled thirteen small brook trout in about a 500 foot length of stream. By small I mean, you would not even think of taking them home for dinner, but they were there! We were totally not expecting to see them. I'm sure otters lurk there now and then, and yet brook trout survive against incredible odds.

Nature is wonderfully balanced that way.


Floridacracker said...

I love otters, but one showed up in my pond a few years ago and had a field day on my catfish and the resident turtle population.

Hope we see some otterpics one day soon.

RuthieJ said...

Otters! That's so cool Deb! I hope they come around again sometime when you're home with the camera.

troutbirder said...

Brook trout and otters. Just a hint of wilderness there. I love it! My Twins. Well you can forget them for this year :(

Deb said...

FC- I think I remember that...

RuthieJ- I hope so too.

Troutbirder- I'm afraid so. :( But Mauer should still be MVP!