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Re: NFC: Collecting Saturday, May 4th - aka: Gators are out!

Im jelous Chip,

Perhaps after I get settled in I could talk some of you gus out of those
blue spots and some pygmys....I expect to set up a NICE fishroom in my
new home.

Robert Rice - NFC president   www.nativefish.org

On Mon, 06 May 2002 14:09:00 -0400 Ipchay61 at aol_com writes:
>  Dustin Smith and I went out Saturday, May 4th, to do some collecting 
> for Riverbanks Zoological Park's Elassoma breeding program. . We 
> left my house,in West Columbia, around 8:30am and headed toward 
> Jasper County, in the southernmost corner of SC. As we left, the 
> temp was around 50 degrees. We had rain most of the way down I-26 
> but it tapered off about the same time we got on I-95. It gradually 
> cleared as we got closer to Hardeville. We first stopped at Great 
> swamp, on Hwy 17, about 6.8 miles north of Hardeville. Temp was 
> around 70. This was a small fairly shallow roadside ditch.  Here, we 
> got the following:
> Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish - Elassoma okatie
> Least Killifish - Heterandria formosa 
> Eastern Mosquitofish - Gambusia holbrooki
> Swampfish - Chologaster cornuta
> Pirate Pearch - Aphedoderus sayanus
> Redfin Pickerel - Esox americanus 
> The 2 Swampfish were very small (probably born this year). 
>  After we left this spot we headed on to Bahama swamp. As we waded 
> out into the weeds we couldn't find any Pygmy sunfish, Golden 
> Topminnows or Bluespotted sunfish like we had on previous visits to 
> this spot. At this spot I found a melanistic male Gambusia with lots 
> of black mottling over what appears to be a blue background.  A man 
> walked up, on the bridge and told us that he see's a gator in there 
> almost daily and that we should watch out because it was a big one, 
> around 10-12 ft.  I told Dustin "I ain't doing any seining here!" He 
> didn't argue to much and we agreed that we should stay close to each 
> other and keep a close eye for anything resembling a gator. We 
> continued  dipnetting, finding many Heterandria and Gambusia, and 
> finally found about four okatie back under the railroad trestle 
> there.  We had not seen any signs of a gator and were finally 
> getting a little relaxed.  At that time, while about hip-deep in the 
> water and vegetation, we saw the gator...about ten feet l!
> ong, out in the water right in the spot where we would have been 
> seining, not more than 40 ft from us. Needless to say, we slowly 
> backed away and left shortly after this. This is a list of what we 
> found here:
> Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish - E.okatie 
> Banded Pygmy Sunfish - E.zonatum
> Least Killifish - H.formosa
> Eastern Mosquitofish - G.holbrooki
> Pirate Pearch - A.sayanus
> Enneacanthus spp. (juv.)
> Swampfish - Chologaster cornuta(another small juv.)
> Mud Sunfish - Acanthus pomotis (about 1 1/2")
> Eastern Mudminnow - Umbra pygmaea
>  After the excitement we decided to explore a little so we hit a 
> dirt road (SSR 169) and sampled a little in ditches where the road 
> crossed a canal. We also saw a small gator (around 4') on the canal 
> bank and a comarant. This is what we found here:
> Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish - E.okatie 
> Least Killifish - H.formosa
> Eastern Mosquitofish - G.holbrooki
> Enneacanthus spp. (juv.)
> Eastern Mudminnow - Umbra pygmaea
> Flier - Centrarchus macropterus 
>  We visited one more spot. It was in the roadside ditches on Hwy 321 
> along the same canal. We saw another small gator, and heard what we 
> think was two others here. This is what we found:
> Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish - E.okatie 
> Least Killifish - H.formosa
> Eastern Mosquitofish - G.holbrooki
> Enneacanthus spp. (juv.)
> Golden Topminnow -  Fundulus chrysotus
> Bowfin - Amia calva (Juv.)
> Flier - Centrarchus macropterus
>  I was excited about the bowfin. I had been wanting one and had not 
> found any so far. We finished up here. The temp was around 85-90 
> with sunny skies. We headed back to Columbia on 321. As we neared 
> Orangeburg we hit the rain again and the temp dropped to the middle 
> 50's. We're going back out on
> Wednesday to get some more stuff for the zoo. Hopefully we can get 
> some Elassoma boehlkei for the breeding program and Enneacanthus 
> chaetodon for them to put on display. I'm also going Friday with a 
> guy from the DNR who is sampling in the Congaree Swamp National 
> Park. We're gonna be visiting a spot
> called the "Dead River Gut". Sounds kinda spooky/interesting. Will 
> post updates on these trips later in the week. 
> Chip Rinehart

Robert Rice - NFC president   www.nativefish.org