Pectinatella magnifica, freshwater Bryozoans in Lake Monroe

It was the longest day of the year Sunday, and Jojo and I took a ride to Lake Monroe to cool off. As we were walking along the shore line, Jojo spotted several colonies of Bryzoans (Pectinatella magnifica) in the water. We had found them two years ago, but last year the water was high all summer, and we found just one small colony.

These animals filter water for bacteria and clay, and although they look very strange, but they actually help water quality. Pectinatella magnifica is the fresh water version of the bryozoan family, which has been on earth since the Ordovician period, nearly 486 million years ago. This means they are one of the oldest animal familys, along with their cousins the corals. The colonies are gelatinous, with the creatures living along outside. They have retractable tentacles that grab tiny particles in the water. We lifted one out of the water, and it seemed to be filled with water. They are reputed to have and oder that repels fish, but we did not smell them.

Here are a couple of videos of them bobbing in the water, and here are some photos.

Mid-October Ride-Swim

Eileen had some fun activities at the Art Museum, so I headed out to Lake Monroe, a quick 10 miles to where I like go swimming. I geo-tagged the photos of the ride, but don’t believe it, I don’t want everyone to find this spot! When I got there there were boats all over the lake, it was busy for October, but then again it was over 80 degrees even in the late afternoon. As the lake has been at normal pool level for several weeks (538′ amsl), I knew our favorite tree trunk would be out of the water for diving.

From Last Swim Ride of October

It’s been underwater for all summer, and was slippery as heck. WhenJojo and I were here during last year’s drought, the longest branch was dry and several feet above the water, but today, it was covered with slippery stuff, and about 6 inches out of the water, but that didn’t matter, and I dove time and again, marveling at how cool the water had become, even at the top. In midsummer, you have to dive a few feet down to find cool water, but it was all cool today, let’s say it was refreshing.

I was a bit worried about the CO’s showing up, but that did not happen, the boats avoid the little point, they can see the log, and don’t want to get close. I don’t know why, but the water was much clearer than a few weeks ago, I could see several feet farther under water, and it was lighter farther down. I think because so little water has been coming in, that the suspended solids have had a chance to fall to the bottom and clarify the water.

I finally got out and dried off, the air was still warm, though it was about 7pm and the sun was beginning to fall below the ridgetops. I rode back up the hill and didn’t break a sweat, and then the quick 10 miles home. It’s funny how long it seemed to get there, but I can barely remember riding back through the dusk, and yes I had my lights on. It will not be till next May that I will be swimming again, so now I am waiting for the lake to freeze so the ice riding can begin!

There are several horses living along Harrell Rd, right where I stopped to look at the sunset. They saw me from across the field, and meandered in my direction, but horses are spooky, and even though I was talking nice to them, the kept their distance. Then I noticed how short the grass was in there field, and it was just as short for one horse’s neck length past the barbed wire fence. But for a foot or so along the road, the grass was long and green rather than short and brown.

So I turned my back on the horses and started ripping up the long green grass, and when I turned around, all the horses were at the fence, ready to make friends. They no doubt heard me pulling the grass, and they could tell it was the good stuff, of this I am sure. I fed them all several handfuls, petted, patted and hugged the big creatures, then said goodbye, carrying their unique body odor in my memory.

Swimming in September

Jojo was out of town, and the day was hot, so I rode straight to my favorite (secret) spot on Lake Monroe to go swimming. The ride is an easy 10 miles on pavement and about a mile down a gravel road.

I found some rocks on the shore, right where the channel is at the shoreline. I dived and swam, dived and swam, watched the birds, and finally got out and dried off just as a johnboat came buzzing up to go fishing in the deep water. I headed up the hill and on home, I can ride parts of the way up, but not the whole way, it is a half mile of gravel climbing 188 feet. My total time was about 4 hours with about 22 miles on the road and an hour or so in the water.