The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It's the place to note any observations you have made of the natural world around you. New birds passing through? No-see-ums making your daily walks difficult? Frog music? You can report anything of interest going on in your natural neighborhood. All we ask is that let us know where you are located, as close as is comfortable for you.Seattle. May 6, 2014.
Stopped at the Wetland and peered into the pond shallows for a bit. The light was perfect for seeing all the way to the bottom, maybe six inches. There were some odd little aquatic worms that live in colonies, half buried in the mud. They wave back and forth until a shadow passes, then retreat into their holes. I recognized glassworms, too, a lot of them, all just quietly suspended halfway between the surface and the muddy bottoms. And I think there were tadpoles - at least they looked like what tadpoles look like, but very small. Chorus frog tadpoles? I didn't have a net or collection bottle with me, but tomorrow's another day. - From a comment I posted on April 22, 2014.Sometimes life just gets in the way, and I didn't get back to wetland with either net or collection bottle for over ten days, but I did check back on April 28 during the weekly bird count. Again, the light was perfect for seeing all the way to the bottom of the pond, and this time there were huge numbers of these little tadpole-like creatures suspended halfway between the surface and the muddy bottoms. They were just far enough out from the pond's edge that I was able to focus on them with my binoculars, and after many minutes of peering I was able remember enough that I could make a very crude sketch.
For those who can't make out my horrible handwriting, here's the translation:
1000's!More below the wriggling orange mass of mysterious creatures -->
tadpoles? - no,
mostly they drift
I made my way back to the pond on May 2 with net and collection bottle, determined to collect at least one of these creatures. My catch brought me a sweet wriggling mass of perhaps 30 of them, as well as a number of glassworms and a lone shrimp-like creature. The temperature of the collected pond water was 18C.
The collection water sat in dim light on the top of the piano until the next evening, when I set up a kitchen photo studio.
And with the camera set on macro, got this image through the murky water.
There's no way to describe the animation of this scene, the way the creatures would float in such stillness, then manically writhe, one or two at time, to float in a different space in the water. I was happy to see that there were such differences among them, remembering how difficult it was to recall what they looked like when I tried sketching them the week before. At the same time, I found it horrifying in the way they would position themselves with their little eyes peering out at me, and their little horns sticking out from the top of their heads.
They were definitely not tadpoles.
So I went to The Google, and found another image, perhaps even more horrifying.
This one from a photographer in the Nederlands, Piet Spaans, described as Chaborus sp. pupa: the pupa of a Glassworm.
Ah. Look again at my kitchen photo set up above. I'd found Mr. Spaans' image before setting up the photo shoot, so had put the collection bottle inside a second glass container and topped it all off with a coffee filter, figuring that anything emerging from an underwater pupa would be trapped inside the whole apparatus. Indeed, within 48 hours I found this mature Glassworm Midge resting between the collection bottle and the secondary container.
When mature, Glassworm Midges are quite lovely.
It appears that the glassworm I discovered back on April 4 was one of the very first to grace the Wetland Pond this year. I have no clue if the conditions then allowed it to mature and fly, but have learned that in late April and early May of 2014 the Chaborus midges at the Wetland Pond were ripening at a furious pace.
I returned the remaining Chaborus pupae from the collection bottle to the Wetland pond this afternoon.
May 6, 2014. Chaborus midges from the Wetland Pond began to mature between late April and early May.
Your turn. What's happening in your natural neighborhood this first week of May? There's no need to stick to the topic of glassworms, and everyone is welcome to toss their notes into the Bucket.
I'll not be in until early afternoon, and then just for a bit before needing to head out to take my turn watching for Barred Owlets in the Forest. You all know what to do.
"Green Diary Rescue" is posted every Wednesday (yaay!) and Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Green Diary Rescue has been good to Backyard Science, so take a minute to recommend, comment, and then link to your other off-Kos groups.