Teach a snake to fish …

Everyone’s gotta eat. It was incredible to watch this diamond back water snake snag a fish, wrestle it in the water while it flailed wildly. The snake, his jaws still clamped around the fish like a dog with a bone, swam it up on a gravel bar and proceeded to swallow it, as the fish continued to flip and writhe — all in vain. Taken 19 May 2017. 5-19-2017 Snake-Fish Tight 4-Edit-small.jpg

 

Tete a tete

A few tense moments during blue gill spawning season in Coleman Creek as a small diamondback water snake goes head to head with a male fish protecting his nest. The snake eventually moved away. Each of those round depressions filled with gravel is a nest. Taken 10 May 2017.

5-10-2017 Snake vs Fish Sony-Best.jpg

Having a cool down

An northern watersnake allows the rushing water of Coleman Creek to cool and disguise him on a warm late summer afternoon in Little Rock. A small colony of these snakes inhabit part of the creek that runs through the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

 

9-1-2016 Water Snake UALR.jpg

Coleman Creek

Coleman Creek is  an urban creek, encompassed in parts by the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the neighboring Cooperative Extension Service headquarters. There’s a fairly broad bit of woodlands on either side of the creek at the extension service side. The green areas support small populations of foxes, coyotes, raccoons, red-tailed hawks, kingfishers, various rodentia, stray dogs, bobcats, and at times, camps set up by the homeless.

The creek itself supports fish, turtles, freshwater mussels and crawdads. It is a welcome oasis and a tremendous natural resource right in the middle of town.

Fish in creek
SCHOOLING — Cardinal shiners swirl around in the clear water.
Open shell on stone.
REMAINS OF THE DINNER – Open freshwater mussel shell is all that remains of some raccoon’s dinner.
vertebra, crawdad shell on rock.
LEFT ON THE CREEKSIDE – A vertebra and the bleached shell of a crawfish on a rock in Coleman Creek in Little Rock.

Urban foxtrot

Sat down for yet another lunch at the desk. Just as I unwrapped my sub, there appeared out the window a pair of foxes. The larger one, top photo, was more bold, venturing into the clearing with a wary eye on the parking lot. The other fox hugged the tree line of the greenbelt, disappearing into the undergrowth soon after the second photo was taken.

Bold fox on a lunchtime stroll
Bold fox keeping an eye on the office parking lot. 
Little fox in winter livery
Smaller fox stayed close to the safe haven of the undergrowth.

 

Urban hawk

One of several red-tailed hawks that make the green belt along Coleman Creek in Little Rock’s University District their home. This fellow was probably looking for lunch.

Red-tailed hawk in a tree.
KEEPING WATCH — Red-tailed hawk pauses in a sweet gum tree.
Hawk in tree.
LOOKING DOWN — Hawk checks out possible lunch int he brush below.

Naked ladies in the woods

The foliage around Little Rock is mostly green. It’s as if the drought-stressed trees that managed to retain their leaves are trying to get one last blast of photosynthesis in  before autumn leaf drop. Peering out the office window, this clump of red was like a beacon in an ocean of green. The red turned out to be a clump of lycoris,  known as naked ladies or surprise lilies, since they seem to spring out of the ground with no warning.

REACHING OUT — Naked lady lily reaches out with its anther and filaments.
IN THE WILD — Group of surprise lilies in a green belt near Coleman Creek in the University District of Little Rock.