Cross-Country Connections: Spring

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Spring.

Note: Mom couldn’t join us for CCC this week, Erin and Mom are together in Carbondale and I am vacationing in Washington D.C., so this week’s CCC is a little wonky.

From Erin who is usually in Bellingham, Washington, but who is in Carbondale, Illinois with Mom this week:

Spring is here, as evidence by the fact that I am at my Grandpa’s farm in Southern Illinois.  Every spring break, through my whole grade school and into college education, my dad, sister, and I would drive down I-57 to Carbondale to visit my aunt, uncle and grandmother before heading through Vienna, IL to ‘the farm.’ We swam in this pond where the blue gill would nibble our toes! Its an amazing feeling to be back here at the right time of year once again.

From me who is usually in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but who is in Washington D.C. this week:

What says “spring” more than the Washington DC tidal basin cherry blossoms in full bloom? Nothing, that’s what.

Cross-Country Connections: Spring
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2 thoughts on “Cross-Country Connections: Spring

  1. 1

    Yes, the bluegill are quite aggressive and will try to bite you. Good thing they have thick cheeks and feed by sucking their prey into their mouths with an inrush of water or you might have actually felt their teeth. These might have been papa fish trying to steer you away from their nests. Males make little clearings in early summer and try to spawn with as many females as they can. After the eggs are laid, the females go hunting to get food to make a second batch or roe. The males guard the eggs and babies. sometimes to the point of starvation. But that’s OK as nesting sites are limited and a male can spawn with multiple females, though some studies suggest that females shy away from alpha males that already have fry. At some point the male will abandon his progeny and go hunting. Sometimes he makes this decision on how well his oldest young are doing, and thus abandon his younger fry.

    Bluegill are bright and colorful fish, as attractive as any cichlid. But the Centerarchidae of North America are largely ignored by the aquarium trade. There are a couple of smaller species that are bred in Europe, but the sunfish are largely ignored. That’s a shame as they are colorful and interesting fish. If you can keep an oscar, you can keep a bluegill.

    I hope you caught and ate some of those bluegill. They are quite tasty. A small pond like your Illinois pond needs to have its fish thinned out. Bluegill will become stunted in a habitat like that. I would avoid fishing in the males’ nesting areas. They are very hungry and will go for bait. I’d go to the deeper water and try to catch females. Less impact on the pond that way.

    1. 1.1

      Wow! Thanks for all the info! Haha, I’ve learned more in this one post than I ever expected to about blue gill! When I was on the dock, we stuck our hands in the water and had a swarm of fish expecting food! We haven’t fed the fish in years. Sadly, few people fish at the pond, now that my Grandfather and Father have passed. Hopefully, my aunt who owns it now will keep the pond in good order; I fear she may just let it “go back to nature” (funny, seeing as its a man-made pond).

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