Text and photos by David Jonathan Cohen © 2021
Rock Creek is an enthralling local example of a global truth: Water is life. Creeks, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans draw and host plants, insects, animals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. Creatures swim in the water, walk its surface, and fly above it. Even the human species – that’s us – clusters close to water, in ports, riverbank settlements, lake resorts, and beach towns.
Look closely at Rock Creek, and you’ll find life. A belted kingfisher waits to dive for its meal. Anytime you walk by Rock Creek or its tributaries, you may hear its loud, distinctive calls. The Cornell Labor of Ornithology describes them as “strident, mechanical rattles.” Listen for yourself at allaboutbirds.org.
A white-tailed buck wades across.
A raccoon reflects and swims.
An old red-eared slider clambers on a log.
Tiny fish school in the shallows.
A water strider skitters on the surface.
A northern watersnake undulates through, in, and out of the water.
A young robin bathes.
And two swallowtail butterflies “puddle” – sip water and minerals – in the stream bed.
So much to see, so many reasons to go with the flow!
If you would like to help protect and preserve Rock Creek, respecting its riches is a good start: leashing your dog, cleaning up after your dog, not littering, not making a racket, staying on the trails, not going into the water yourself, not disturbing plants or animals, not feeding or approaching wildlife, reading and obeying signs, and carrying out what you bring in. And if you would like to do more, please take a look at the work of the Rock Creek Conservancy at rockcreekconservancy.org.