Salamanders, Crawdads and More

rachelle siegrist snorkeling

Our weather here in the Smokies was very hot and dry the first part of the week. Then rain finally fell, over 2 inches of it, accompanied by abundant lightning and high winds! Now there are daily chances of thunderstorms. This morning was actually delightful, as it was overcast and cooler with a wonderful breeze, so I thoroughly enjoyed my time out on the porch with all of my critter friends joining me! We have several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds now flitting about the yard, whilst enjoying the numerous flowers and of course their feeders. The air is filled with the sounds of their fussing as they chase each other while standing guard at each of the different feeding stations.

crawdad in mountain stream

Townsend is overrun with tourists this summer, so weekends are spent here at the house. Because the river is filled with literally thousands of tubers daily, due to the virus, we haven’t been able to tube this summer, and have had to go up into the park and search out pools in the river deep enough to snorkel and swim in. Thankfully we’ve managed to find spots a couple of mornings during the week. One morning as soon as we arrived, Wes spotted a beautiful little crawdad alongside one of the rocks, which we enjoyed watching for quite sometime. Here’s a short video of him below.

Wes also spotted another smaller one which I tried to video with my GoPro, but he was obviously camera shy to it, and quickly crawled up underneath a rock nearby.

rachelle siegrist videoing crawdads

However, he must’ve just had issues with the GoPro, as he allowed Wes to capture this great video of him pushing and moving rocks and grabbing sticks, with his iPhone.

Crawdads weren’t the only nice find for the morning, as Wes watched this beautiful little salamander walking alongside his chair. Sadly I missed it but was having a great time snorkeling and watching the fish. Since I got lots of wonderful feedback from you all, saying how very much you enjoyed the videos last week, I’m sharing these with you this week, and here is one of a salamander.

I never tire of floating around on my tube belly-down, with my mask on and watching the abundant fish swimming all around. They love it when I slowly wipe the sediment off of the submerged rocks, sending hundreds of minuscule particles into the water, like a miniature dust storm, into which they swim quickly devouring tasty treats found in the floating cloud. Once I start this activity, a mixed school of fish continually follow me around like a flock of chickens, waiting for me to rub another rock, so the tiny treats can be quickly found and eaten. I could easily spend countless hours doing that, while totally absorbed into another world, free of daily cares! One of their favorite things, however, is when Wes finds a dead crawdad occasionally and tears it into chunks for them, while I watch them turn into a group of piranhas, fighting over and devouring the crawdad in what seems like mere seconds! These locations are favorite hangouts for banded watersnakes too, and we’ve seen numerous ones over the summer thus far.

banded watersnalke photo

It was another great time at the river, and our spot had just enough room to safely distance while sitting and relaxing with friends Tom and Sharon. Then two vehicles pulled over, maneuvering and squeezing into the wee space left in front of our van. As we watched, a dozen people poured out of the cars, pointing down at our little pool, announcing “We’re going down right there.” We sat there in disbelief, at first saying surely they’re not coming right down on us, but we quickly realized that’s exactly what they were doing! So we quickly gathered our things, crawled up the bank, and had to walk out in the road to keep a safe distance from the large group of out of state tourists. We left stunned and in disbelief, at how utterly rude some people are anymore. This act would’ve been extremely rude in normal times, but during a pandemic, it was shockingly rude to the four of us. I must say, I’m hoping that’s the last time something like that happens, as we’re running out of places to safely escape to anymore.

~ In The Studio ~

I have made quite a bit of progress on my miniature painting of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. I have continued taking time-lapse videos of my progress this past week, and when it’s completed I will have a video for you showing the miniature painting from beginning to end.

Da Vinci's Mona Lisa in miniature
Making more  progress on Mona Lisa

Would you like to enjoy your own special miniature painting? 

Email Us

Our Monthly Newsletters

Join Us on Facebook

Until Next Time . . . 



2 thoughts on “Salamanders, Crawdads and More

  1. Denise Horne-Kaplan

    Thanks that was wonderful… Love your little vids I feel like I’m there but staying nice and dry.. LOL 😜

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.