Thursday, August 07, 2008

Part III, Day 5: 080712

Not planning to do any marine biology today, we travelled inland along the road to Twin Lakes. How many (pairs of) lakes in the world are named “Twin Lakes”? I know Matt and I saw several in Florida and Georgia, and I think there are some with that name in Southern Ontario. However, I suspect most other Twin Lakes in North America are accessible by better roads than these.

The road to Twin Lakes in Churchill is locally famous for being basically terrible. A new vehicle with good suspension and a high ground clearance, like a pick-up truck or an SUV, could probably handle this road at a decent speed, maybe 50 or 60 km/h. Our 1982 axels-bolted-directly-to-the-frame Suburban, however, felt like it was going to simultaneously fall apart, skid, and roll on almost every pothole if we were going faster than 30. So, the 15 km took us a while, but we did make it, somewhat to our surprise.

One half of the Twin Lakes. The shoreline is composed of coarse sand mixed with very dark grey material locally refered to as “Loon shit”. It is certainly not the excrement of birds, but nobody knows what it is. It’s very soft, and a casual step into a submerged patch will almost always result in a flooded boot.

I found some lovely amphipods and leeches in Twin Lakes, then we moved on to Ramsey Creek, one of the few small creeks or streams in the vicinity of the CNSC. The landscape around Churchill, part of the Hudson Bay lowlands, is very flat, and most of the fresh water is in the form of still ponds and lakes, not rapidly moving water. Thus, Ramsey Creek offers an opportunity to collect some lotic rather than lentic animals. Ramsey Creek flows into a nearby lake, which we refered to as “Ramsey Lake”, not knowing what its proper name might be, if any.

Ramsey Lake’s shoreline. Unlike Twin Lakes, the bottom is composed mainly of pebbles and larger stones, with very little “Loon shit” and few visible macroinvertebrates. I did find a few amphipods, though, with the help of Sally and her plankton net.

A bit more collecting during the day, but not much exciting to report. Tomorrow we plan to return to Button Bay on the West side of the Churchill River, though happily the low tide is not quite so brain-haemorragingly early in the morning.

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