August 26, 2009

Life in a Riparian Zone

On a recent ride in the terrain north of Strawberry Reservoir, we traveled along the creeks and saw numerous active beaver dams and lodges. The one above, located on the little west fork of the Duchesne, has a main hut, and a cozy mother-in-law dwelling beside it.
On Willow Creek, we saw evidence of a series of abandoned dams.
The beaver cut down aspen or willow for food and building material, creating a clearing. The dams they build form ponds that spread out and slow the runoff of spring snowmelt, allowing the water to soak in and drop its silt, sculpting verdant meadows.
Steve checked under the stream rocks and found mayfly nymphs
and case caddis fly nymphs clinging to the wet stones.
Here is a caddis fly nymph without its pebble and dirt casing:
These bugs are important in a trout's diet, so anglers take note.
Along the stream, we found monkshood in bloom (above), so named because the lower petals appear to be covered by a hood.
In a nearby meadow, we saw this unknown flower. Every outing needs at least one mystery upon which to ponder.


  1. loved the look at
    the beaver dam and such,
    the fly close-up
    not so much

  2. Very interesting and educational post, Janie... I enjoyed seeing the beaver 'homes'--and how busy they stay. Love that Monkshood.. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

    Thanks for a great post today.

  3. I had to look up the word riparian and now I feel just a little smarter, LOL!
    Every time I visit here I can see why you explore the way you do. It's so nice to see such awesome nature and beauty exists in this country. Thank you again for sharing!

  4. The beaver dams were a nice find. Like the mother-in-laws lodge. Leave it to a fisherman to look for bait under the rocks.

  5. Great and educational as usual. Beaver dams have always facinated me and as a kid I used to watch them in the evening as the beaver would come out to work. It is amazing how fast they can repair a dam after it is breeched.

  6. Yes Janie

    your posts are always informative and arresting, thank you

    Happy days

  7. very interesting. in my memory as a child, i used to watch anglers fishing using worms for baits.

    the monkshood is another interesting flower to take note of.

    that one with name unknown looks very special to me too. See the sepals that hold them and the stems? beautiful characteristics.

  8. There's an active beaver population on the creek that borders our farm. I even saw one once, and it was bigger than I expected. It amazes me how much work they do.

    The monkshood is gorgeous, as is the second unknown blue flower.

  9. Thanks for taking us along on a fascinating ride along the creeks. Somehow I think that there are not too many things you can't identify.

  10. How nice of the beaver to build a mother-in-law dwelling (your to cute for words, Janie:)
    Steve knows where to look for the important things, like fish food.
    Beautiful wildflowers and lovely post, thanks Janie...

    Tell Steve my husband is jealous of his trout fishin...

  11. I love the beaver dams. The trout food lesson was interesting also.

  12. A riparian area provides so much for many creepy crawlies and the showcase are the beavers. Monkshood so eerily
    beautiful with a bad reputation in the middle ages. A very interesting post.

  13. I prefer the flower (reminds me of an iris) to the bugs. Obviously these beavers have been to relate (marriage counselling in the uk). ;)

  14. I love caddis larvae and their many forms of case homes--some portable. They're also oddly carnivorous--several times at Alpine lakes I've had the large, mobile caddis begin eating trout that I'm keeping cool in the water prior to shore lunch.

    Beaver are a little like people: use all the local resources, then move over the hill and start again. Only for beaver, the resource is renewable.



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