Tomorrow might be the last day for Readers’ Wildlife unless I get more submissions. Just sayin’.
Gregory Zolnerowich, an entomologist at Kansas State University, sent some pictures of a kayaking trip and associated sights. His narrative is indented and you can click on the photos to enlarge them.
Several of us spent three days kayaking and camping on the Current River and Eleven Point River in south-central Missouri. These are clear, spring-fed Ozark rivers often bounded by dolomite cliffs that date to the Ordovician. Forty-four miles of the Eleven Point River were designated as a National Wild and Scenic River in 1968, which means it is free of impoundments and is largely undeveloped. We saw bald eagles, assorted ducks and geese, mink, otters, raccoons (they would raid our camp at night), deer, turtles, frogs, and a great variety of insects.
The beds of the rivers are mostly rock and gravel, occasionally sand, with water that is clear in the shallow areas and then turns a lovely aquamarine in the deeper sections. I assume that color comes from dissolved minerals.
A lunch stop had butterflies puddling for entertainment. The top two are spicebush swallowtails (Papilio troilus) and the bottom two are pipevine swallowtails (Battus philenor). They were so engrossed in their activity I could get quite close. The small blue lycaenid butterfly was very skittish and would sometimes land on the swallowtails. Zebra swallowtails (Eurytides marcellus) were very common but too flighty to photograph.
I loved the way the plants would cling to the surface of the rocky cliffs. Water often was seeping and dripping from the faces of the cliffs.
This stag beetle (Lucanidae) ambled by.
The rivers often had long shoals or rapids which made for a nice ride.
Cave Spring at the base of a cliff on the Current River is a popular stop for people.
This large water wheel, 25 feet in diameter, is all that is left of Turner Mill, which is situated a short distance below Turner Spring along the Eleven Point River.
Turner Spring is one of the smaller springs that feeds the river and averages 1.5 million gallons of water per day.
This should be a sanddragon in the genus Progomphus (Gomphidae), but I’m not sure of the species.
It was pretty docile and rode on my finger for a few minutes.
Boze Mill Spring is about 150 yards from the Eleven Point River, it is a large chasm that discharges 12-14 million gallons of water per day.
The outflow from Boze Mill Spring just before it meets the Eleven Point River. The water was quite cold.