Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A day of small adventures

With the weather forecasted to be outstanding today, Emma and I hopped into the car and headed out for Edenton National Fish Hatchery early this morning. 


Edenton NRH is a warmwater hatchery which means that the fish raised here do best in water temperatures above 65 degrees.  It is one of the oldest hatcheries in the country, and was first established in 1898.  Currently, the hatchery mainly works with restocking Atlantic striped bass and American shad.  As I understand it, these fish spend their early life growing in the rivers along the Atlantic coast.  Then they spend their adult life at sea, and return to spawn in the rivers yearly.  Their numbers have drastically decreased because of pollution, dams, and over fishing. 

69  Pea Island & Alligator River NWRs  201218

The first thing to explore upon arrival is the aquarium.  There is a 700 gallon fresh water tank inside with all of the fish species that can be found in the coastal North Carolina rivers.


There are 36 ponds where the young fry are raised until they’re large enough to be released into area rivers.  By the time winter rolls along, most all fish have been removed from the ponds to begin their lives in the rivers. 


Can you guess what this is?  One of these contraptions was in each of the ponds that hadn’t been drained.  I thought perhaps it was a machine to distribute food to the young fish, although I knew the young fish mainly ate tiny microorganisms that are produced in the ponds by the addition of fertilizers to encourage their growth.  It turns out these machines go into action when the pond is determined to need more oxygen.  The paddles start turning, and churn up the water adding more oxygen.


At the end of the ponds, there is a nature trail that is part of the Charles Karault Nature Trail and the North Carolina Birding Trail.  Not many birds were out and about while we visited, but the trail was actually the highlight of my visit.


There is a short but very pleasant boardwalk that Emma and I sauntered down.  The leaves of the deciduous trees are beginning to turn, and the cypress needles are browning out before they drop to the ground.


The boardwalk ends at a very peaceful overlook along Pembroke Creek.  This creek looks more like a river to me, but I don’t know who decides the difference between a creek and a river.  My mind thinks of a creek as being not very wide across, and not very deep.  This creek is very wide, and I was told had some very deep places in it.  I rested my hip, and enjoyed the solitude while sitting on one of the benches. 


All too soon, it was time to head back.  There were several picnic tables near the parking lot, so I enjoyed the lunch I had packed outside while Emma was in heaven rolling in the lush green lawn. 

We made a couple of more interesting stops along the route home, but I think I’ll save those for tomorrow’s post.  I’ll be working the Pea Island Visitors Center tomorrow, so I need to remember to set my alarm so I can get up early enough to get there.  Annoyed

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy