Kayaking in Massachusetts - flora, fauna, and insects
Nymphaea Odorata, or the American white waterlily. This is a quiet water flower, which means you see them mostly in ponds or very slow lakes. Once it starts to open, it has a life span of 3 days!! On the second and third days, many insects will visit the flower and collect the pollen. On the fourth day it usually succumbs to the pond’s undertow, but the seeds will be distributed by aquatic life such as waterfowl.
The Nuphar lutea, or yellow pond lily. It grows in ponds that are deficient in oxygen and to compensate, the leaves transport oxygen to the rhizome and feeds the plant. Because of this method of feeding, they are prone to water pollution which ruins their environment. They have a green bottle-shaped fruit after they flower, which is why they are also called brandy bottles.
Purple Loosestrife, water willow, or wild oleander. Unfortunately, for North America, this is considered an invasive species of plant because it grows in clusters and clogs up wetland areas where native species typically inhabit.
Double-crested cormorant, known for dark matte feathers and a bright orange beak. They are often mistaken for a loon; they are more akin to the frigatebirds. They can survive near both salt and fresh water and typically can be seen around harbors or ponds. They do not have the preening oil that ducks have and so their feathers will get a bit soaked when in water. Therefore, you can see them sitting on wood with wings extended to dry.
The great blue heron is a beloved north American bird. They can withstand frigid temperatures that make other birds fly south during the winter. With long, stilted legs and a long, sleek neck, they can sit in the water and wait until fishy prey appears, then nab them with sharp precision. Although they were hunted due to their size, people tend to leave them alone and they have a stable status.
Male corporal dragonflies typically have a dark blue body while females and young males are brownish. Dragonflies are a boon to any person’s garden because they will consume mosquitos and other insects that can ruin your crops. They are attracted to still waters such as ponds or stagnant waters, meadow areas, and even seem to like the dark blue colors! Befriend your local dragonfly, it’s better than pesticides.
Hover flies, or flower flies, look a lot like bees or wasps but they are harmless to humans. They harvest nectar and pollen, but they will also eat larvae that may infect your plants. Again, a perfect creature to support in your garden because they will stop insects from ravaging your crops.
Basking painted turtles. They have a dark shell, but their underbody is typically a bright orange-yellow color. They will eat aquatic plants and creatures such as snails and fish. They love to bask on rocks and logs, and they tend to look like divas while basking. They have long nails to travel through pond water quickly and avoid predators.
Northern green frogs are often mislabeled as bullfrogs, but they are much smaller throughout their life. Many people keep them as pets, but in the wild they are typically found in marshes, swamps, and ponds. They typically need a large area to live comfortably to reduce stress and their diet is made up from crickets, meal worms, and even nightcrawlers. They are also sensitive to water pollutions such as metals and ammonia. Don’t litter! Save a frog!