There are no more bullfrogs sitting along the edge of the pond in the NBG. Seems like its been cool enough that they have gone into hibernation.
Today at noon time the river was teeming with fish. From north of Citizens Bank to north of Smith St. not only huge schools of little menhaden, but the first schools I have seen of larger sized fish. I did see the night heron catch a larger fish yesterday, and several of the menhaden had fresh cuts like the birds tried to catch them and they got away.
Today I saw huge schools of menhaden by the Smith St and broken wooden bridges along
Canal St and the Great Blue Heron that has been hanging out between the bridges took a poop that crated a white circle in the water 18 inches in diameter. Watcvhing it come out was amazing just one giant whoosh.
In the NBG I saw tadpoles in the4 big pond for the first time since late June. i have been wondering where the new crop is, and saw a number of them today. The murky water makes observation difficult this time of year, so it was interesting that today was the day to see them.
It’s mid September and the menhaden are back in the lower Moshassuck. If the conditions are right, sun, rain, tide, temperature, then you can see thousands of small, 2 to 3 inch menhaden in schools in the river along Canal street. The menhaden excursion to downtown in September is something I have been watching since I moved to Providence in 1996.
It varies every year. Including when it arrives. This year is dominated by small fish. Their big sisters are around as I saw them in the Seekonk River today making some very sizable splashes. Several years ago the big ones came to downtown in huge numbers, estimated at 10,000 fish, and stayed for two months. For years the only ones i saw very small ones, first year mostly, But three times in the last 8 years large ones dominated. And some years you hardly see a one. Hopefully the days of none are behind us. The fish bring much to the urban core.
The places to see them are in the canal immediately north of the Citizens Bank building, going up Canal street. Especially fruitful has been the pool immediately north of bridge spanning the river at Park Row. Several times this summer a 40 inch eel was seen in the pool, but at shallow water the menhaden stand out against the wall in the middle of the river. Crabs are also a daily siting.
I wandered along the Woonasquatucket River this week as well and found an abundance of menhaden along the Promenade. I am a bit jealous of my friends at the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council their river is bigger and gets a lot more fish. The herring runs of spring are even more of a sign of ecological healing in the Woonie despite the superfund site.
Maybe that makes the sitings in the mighty Mo’s estuary more of an enjoyment. They are harder to come by.
My favorite accompaniment to the menhaden run is found below the collapsing bridge below the Statehouse on Canal St. The broken bridge holds up a large pile of woody and trashy debris, with its bones being trees that have floated down the river. The pieces change, but the overall structure is pretty stable and survives floods. The bridge may not survive many more big storms. But until it washes out to sea the herons, Great Blue and Night will use it for refuge and hunting. This morning i saw the Night Heron nab a little fish and swallow hard. Yesterday it was a young Great Blue that I greeted on my way to the office. Often the taxi drivers who wait at the taxi stand along the river on Canal and I converse about the birds and fish we see. Sometimes we do not share a vocal language, but gestures work.
Thats the news from the lower Moshassuck. I will be checking out the headwaters later in the week, and co leading a hike with The Nature Conservancy on September 22, so maybe a headwaters report will follow as well as updates if I see anything interesting at the North Burial Ground or along the tidewater.