nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Benton Covered Bridge

in the shelter of the covered bridge – lichens on the Benton Bridge

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Some of the species found growing ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ are unexpected. The Benton Bridge (Eel River #2) in west-central New Brunswick offered a few surprises.

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The Benton Bridge, built in 1927, crosses the Eel River at Benton, York County. The bridge is in an open area of houses, hay fields and a picnic park. A huge lilac at the end of the bridge was busy with hawk mothshttps ( https://janetims.com/2015/06/10/in-the-shelter-of-the-covered-bridge-hummingbird-moths/) . And Stonefly nymphs, an indicator of excellent water quality, covered the boards on the side and end of the bridge ( https://janetims.com/2015/06/08/in-the-shelter-of-the-covered-bridge-stonefly-nymphs/ ). But, to me, the most interesting discovery was on the upstream side of the bridge.

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trip to Benton 2015 064

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On the north-east facing outside wall, two species of lichen grew:

Boreal oakmoss (Evernia mesomorpha) and burred horsehair (Bryoria furcellata). These are common lichens, usually found on trees in open coniferous woods or on scraggy trees in bogs. Perhaps they like the coolness and humidity offered by this side of the bridge! I am so grateful to Stephen Clayden of the New Brunswick Museum for identifying and commenting on these lichens.

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on the north-east wall

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Benton Bridge

Eel River #3

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on the shaded side of the covered bridge

the walls are clothed, furred

in lichen

boreal oakmoss

yellow-grey and goose-fleshed

(Evernia mesomorpha)

burred horsehair

bristled, toasted and tangled

(Bryoria furcellata)

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they thrive on the weathered boards

from eaves to river they follow

the runnel ways of damp

cool on the dark side of the bridge

bark and branches their usual home

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

 

Written by jane tims

August 12, 2016 at 7:15 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – not a hummingbird

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hawkmoth in lilac

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not a humming bird

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Benton Covered Bridge

Eel River #3

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wing blur in the lilac

threshold of the bridge

scent-thick and purple

invisible

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hawkmoth

hummingbird clearwing

Hemaris thysbe

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lilac thryse to lilac thryse

side-slip, hover

nectar thirst

fierce harvest

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For more information on the hummingbird hawkmoth at the Benton Covered Bridge, see https://janetims.com/2015/06/10/in-the-shelter-of-the-covered-bridge-hummingbird-moths/

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 27, 2016 at 7:16 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – hummingbird hawkmoths

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At one end of the Benton Covered Bridge (Eel River #3) is a large Lilac bush.

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TRIP TO BENTON 2015 078_crop

Lilac by the Benton Bridge

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Since I was looking for wild life in the vicinity of the bridge, I was delighted to see what appeared to be bumblebees or hummingbirds busy gathering nectar from the Lilac blossoms.

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moth getting nectar from the flowers – you can see his orangy body and dark antennae

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As we approached, we realised these were not bumblebees or hummingbirds, but a type of ‘hummingbird hawkmoth’.  They behaved like hummingbirds, darting among the flowers, backing up and slipping sideways.  Their transparent wings were a blur, they moved so fast.  Their bodies were striped in gold and black and their bodies were very hairy.

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hummingbird hawkmoth, his wings a blur, gathering nectar

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Although my photographs are not very clear, with help from the New Brunswick Museum staff, I now know these are Hummingbird Clearwing moths (Hemaris thysbe).  Although I listened carefully, I could not hear the sound their wings made, since the rippling of the water in the river was so loud!

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There were hundreds of moths in the Lilac bush.  The hummingbird hawkmoths shared their feast with a group of very nervous Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio canadensis).

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The Lilac scent was overwhelming, thick and sweet.  If that scent was a room, it would be a Victorian parlour.  If it was a textile it would be deep-purple satin.  If it was weather, it would be a sultry August evening.  If it was a light, it would be a Moroccan lantern … and so on.

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Copyright 2015 Jane Tims

 

in the shelter of the covered bridge – Stonefly nymphs

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These days, I am having a great time visiting some of the covered bridges in New Brunswick. I have visited many of the bridges before, but mostly to learn about their history.  Now I am planning a project to look at the plants and animals living in or around covered bridges, so I am trying to get a feel for the subject to see what species I am likely to meet.

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Benton Covered Bridge (Eel River #3)

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This weekend, we visited the Benton Covered Bridge (Eel River #3) in west-central New Brunswick.  Benton is a small community on the Eel River.  The bridge, 31.9 meters long, was built in 1927.

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Benton Bridge on Eel River showing part of the community park on one side

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The Eel River is a pleasant shallow river.  When we were there, people were fishing with rod and reel.  We noticed a digger log had been installed in the river, often done as a way of encouraging the river to dig deeper pools and improve fish habitat.

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Eel River – a digger log has been installed in the river, the long line of flowing water above the center of the photo, running from 8:00 to 2:00 – the log causes the water downstream to dig a deeper pool and simulates the action of fallen trees in a natural river

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My search for wild life in and around the bridge was rewarded by the discovery of Stonefly nymphs clinging to the wooden walls of the bridge.

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Two Stonefly nymphs on the wall at the end of the bridge – the cerci are hard to see – they are a pair of extensions at the end of the abdomen, pointing upward in the photo, between the hind pair of legs – the cerci are almost as long as the insect itself

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Not particularly beautiful to me, the nymph is a life-stage on the way to the adult form.  Stoneflies (Order Plecoptera) are identified by their narrow bodies and the long pair of cerci at the end of the abdomen (cerci are long appendages on the rear abdomen of many insects).  I was never any good at insect identification when I worked in the field of water quality, so I am not certain which Family of the Order Plecoptera they belong to.

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There were Stonefly nymphs all over the bridge walls, inside and out.  I was happy to see these insects because they are an indicator of good to excellent water quality.  Anglers love to see these insects in a stream or river because it usually means good fishing.

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inside the Benton Bridge

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I nudged one of the nymphs with a pen and he did not budge a millimeter.  In spite of his inaction, I am certain he will be the hero of a future poem about life in the shelter of the covered bridge!

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims   

 

Written by jane tims

June 8, 2015 at 7:23 am

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