Gameland Pond, Between the Freezes

We had some really cold days last week, but then it warmed up and rained again; poured quite a lot, in fact. The rain finally stopped just before noon on Sunday. High winds were expected for the afternoon, with drastically dropping temperatures to follow.

So in between the rain and the wind and the freeze, my husband and I took a quick stroll up the hill to find out what was going on at our local gameland, SGL 176, the Scotia Pine Barrens. We found everything very drippy and wet!

The main photo is the edge of one of my favorite beaver ponds in the gamelands, looking green and damp. You have never seen this particular shot here before because this is the bank where I am usually standing to take "the shot I always take" of this particular beaver pond: winter view, and spring view.

We encountered something really strange and interesting on the little access road that leads to the Tow Hill gameland parking lot: blue slicks on top of the puddles, looking much like oil slicks atop the water.

In stepping closer, I discovered the blue slicks were ALIVE and MOVING. Roiling, in fact, with energy and motion. They were made up of tiny, squirming bugs. When I got home, I posted photos to Facebook, and a friend suggested they might be water springtails, which I think they are! (Thanks, Paula!)

For those, like me, who have never seen such a thing, I've posted a photo of the blue bug slicks in the extras. I looked them up, and discovered that these creatures (Collembola) are not actually bugs:

"Springtails are those tiny, 6-legged arthropods (hexapods) that are not considered to be insects because their mouth parts are internal. They're polite like that and such facial tidiness just isn't the true insect way."

The same source says that at least some of these creatures are called Poduromorpha, or "podgy ones." I have to admit that one gave me a giggle! Podgy little bugs that really aren't bugs, who believe in facial tidiness. (Also related: is puddle water fattening? I mean, who wants to be called "podgy"?!?!)

I also learned from Wikipedia that they are quite common and that there are lots and lots of them! "In sheer numbers, they are reputed to be one of the most abundant of all macroscopic animals, with estimates of 100,000 individuals per square meter of ground." Well, you learn something new every day!

The song to accompany this posting was chosen as a celebration of the little blue podgy ones: Suzanne Vega, with Small Blue Thing.

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