Hanging With Hellbenders


I am thrilled to say that we were able to find several Hellbenders this past week at various locations in the river near our home! I’ve been waiting all summer to catch my first glimpse of one of these amazing amphibians, so I was extremely delighted to be able to see and observe several of them! My obsession with hellbenders began when I was a little girl, and got a small book about freshwater fish and amphibians, complete with photos of them. In it was a photo of a hellbender, and I was intrigued upon seeing it that first time! So each time I get to see one in the wild, I am delighted beyond belief! 

hellbender photo2

The weather was ideal for snorkeling several days this past week, so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity, spending a couple of hours snorkeling each time. I absolutely love the transition of leaving the “solid” world behind and slipping into the “liquid” world. As soon as my face mask drops beneath the water’s surface, I am instantly transported into another universe and I love it! There time seems to stand still, leaving troubles and cares behind for awhile, and for a short time, I am one of the fish swimming about enjoying their watery world. A couple of days I was even able to muster up the courage to swim in the frigid water instead of just floating face down on my tube. 

Rachelle siegrist snorkeling

My last visit into this incredible underwater universe, I saw a fish unlike any I’ve seen before! After researching freshwater fish in our area, it appears to be a Banded Sculpin, but I’ve not found one that was colored as beautifully as the one I saw. It was about 8 inches long, and was bright blue between the dark bands around the body and it’s fins were a light pinkish coral color. Needless to say, it was gorgeous and I was sick that I didn’t have my underwater camera with me! If only I had a photographic mind, I could paint it. Here’s a little video of one of the incredible hellbenders I was fortunate enough to watch.

That last trip to the river was also the first time I was able to tube my favorite section of rapids all summer! Of course I had to wait until it was overcast, 66 degrees, with the water temp a mere 65 degrees, for that section to finally be vacant of people, so I could safely tube down. But hey . . . better late than never! So here’s a video Wes took of me absolutely in heaven whilst tubing down it a couple of times!

As usual, there’s been plenty of visiors to our yard recently, including this beautiful Praying Mantis below, I named PM. She hangs out on the front deck searching for her next meal, and although she graciously let me get my camera quite close to take her photo, she let me know she was watching me! I’m amazed how these incredible insects maintain eye contact with you, while following you by turning their heads and watching you. It’s almost unnerving at times, and I’m sure glad they’re not the size of a T-Rex!

praying mantis photo

My beloved squirrel neamed Growlin’, who was featured in a video I recently shared on my blog, returned one morning this past week after being absent for a couple of months. I was horrified to see she had somehow lost part of her back left leg, which had healed up. Nonetheless, it was quite a shock and completely broke my heart! I fed her extra treats though, and she has been returning each morning and at times during the day for handouts. She appears to be doing quite well and really enjoys eating at the wooden picnic table a friend recently gave me. She still “talking” to me abundantly and we carry on extended conversations whilst trying to solve the worlds problems. Of course I’ll let you know when we have it all solved . . . Ha Ha!


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Until next time ~ Rachelle

3 thoughts on “Hanging With Hellbenders

  1. Denise Horne-Kaplan

    Loved the blog this week!! Praying Mantis are very striking but I found out they hunt and can actually kill a humming bird… YIKES

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