Friday, March 18, 2011


The top attraction at Blue Jay Barrens during this time of year is the water and I do my best to enjoy it. In six months, I may not find any water at all left on the property. I know that this small tributary stream will be dry in just a few months, but in the time it exists, it will produce a wealth of small aquatic insects and other organisms.

There are many small streams that originate on the upper slopes of the steep hillsides. The water is fast moving, but because of a limited watershed area, the volume of water is relatively low. Even during a heavy rain, the runoff through this channel will be slight. These conditions result in a stream that is very narrow and deeply cut. Downward cutting stops when the bedrock is reached, so the resulting stream is a shady rivulet that seems hidden by the earth.

Various obstacles catch stone and other debris to form small waterfalls. In this case the forked root an Eastern Red Cedar has kept the stream from cutting any deeper into the loose rock. A clear pool has developed where the runoff water falls across the root.

The waterfall effectively prevents fish from traveling into the tributary. This is particularly important to the security of the upstream insect populations. Fish gaining access to the upper parts of the tributary would dine on the insect larvae and change the biological dynamics of the entire stream ecosystem.


  1. I really do wish I had a little water of some sort on my property, but I live on a sandpit of sors. :) I'm considering a man-made pond, but it will be a few years before that happens! Enjoy the waterfalls while you can!

  2. We love having water on the property, too. We had (and still have) a cement fish pond in our garden that was here to our very old home when we moved here in 1979. The pond was filled in when we came so we dug it out and it has been a self-sustaining pond ever since. The kids (mine now adults and their kids) have learned a great deal from it watching the gold fish grow and reproduce. Our only interference is to use a tank deicer in the winter to provide a small area without ice since it is not very deep. The fish grow fat on the insects and the birds have a water source. It is a small pond, but provides a world of education for all of us.

  3. Hi Steve...Nothing like the sound of trickling is music to my ears!!
    I have a run of stream in the back yard..well more like a small river at the moment, that has may kinds of bugs and such scooting about in it! It also dries up!!

  4. Hi, Renee. Sand does make it hard to have a pond. My limited amount of permanent water is only possible because of plastic liners and tubs.

    Hi, Lois. When I was a kid, I loved goldfish ponds. The best I could manage was a bucket of water hidden behind the bushes. Mosquito larvae were the normal tenants.

    Hi, grammie g. It would be nice to have a stream that flowed year round, but that would not be Blue Jay Barrens.