Our Last Transecting Trip To Estill Fork
Five of us went out to Estill Fork in the upper Paint Rock River valley on Saturday. This trip completes the field work aspect of both Robert's and Brian's thesis projects. We have a full year's worth of several darter species for Robert's examination for gill parasites, and we've completed 7, I think, visits to Estill Fork for Brian's transect examination of physical habitat and darter usage. It was a beautiful early fall day, warm and sunny, and I'm not sure we really broke a sweat doing this work. The first photo below is my standard view of the low bridge across the stream looking east, from the perspective of where we park.
The stream had low but flowing water. Much of the streambed was covered with water willow, usually with several inches of water flowing around the base of the plants.
Many of the autumn blooming plants were in flower. Below is a cardinal flower plant. They prefer really wet soil right on the edge of a stream, and there were a lot of them at this site in such soils.
I know I know what the next plant is, but the name escapes me. (Edit: They're blue Lobelia, a relative of the cardinal flower.) They're found along the stream in drier, more elevated soils than the cardinal flower.
All sorts of asters were in bloom, of course, this being late September. I'm sure someone could tell me exactly what species is in the next photo.
This view of our vehicles makes it look like we're parking in a meadow, but we're actually off the roadway between two large meadows. It looks very autumnal, of course.
And finally, here's a high-contrast view of the stream itself, shadows mixing with spots of bright sunlight breaking through the canopy. The water was extremely clear.