Aside

Bug’s Life II

Our sampling carries on relentlessly every month, we’re a bit late in May due to the bad weather but got out to sample on the weekend, Jack has become an efficient and able side kick, included below are a few pictures from our other sampling site near the bridge at Berkeley Estate Kennels and some of the various inhabitants we get from both sites.

The Kennels site below the bridge into Berkeley:

Bug expert in action:

We sift out the Eels and any fish caught up in the sample before we get going properly:

Mayfly or Ephemera Danica (one has a tail missing):

Baetis nymph it might be a BWO but the markings appear too pale, we find it difficult to tell sometimes, this one is blown up a great extent via macro photography (answers on a post card if you can advise on the type):

Caseless Caddis (Hydropsyche and a Racophilia down at the bottom left):

Cased Caddis, the two groupings we get most either use gravel to build their homes, or a finer substance that makes the case look like a  little stick, when we first started sampling it was easy to overlook these as they fit in so well with the sand and gravel:

Gammarus (with little red spot which shows that it is infected with stage 2 of P. Laevis):

Stoneflies, these were very small examples and it’s quite rare for us to find these on the LRA, although now I know where to look we might find them more often:

Paraleptophlebia Submarginata or Turkey Brown:

Damselfly nymphs:

Bullhead (which is of course a fish and not a bug) and a freshwater snail-shell:

Clean up at the end:

Tight Lines, Splash (& Son)

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Aside

Bug’s Life

The river is really waking up, I’ve pushed on with my monthly sampling of entomological data through a bleak winter, managing to cover two sites alone (buddy Nick has been elsewhere with his new job and it’s a long way from London / Copenhagen to the Little River Avon).  I don’t know why I’d not thought of an obvious solution sooner, perhaps not wanting to drag a lad reluctantly out to look at  a few bugs … but as my 9-year-old son Jack volunteered himself, I made the most of it.  

He was showing an interest on getting out in the fresh air with his ‘old man’ on Saturday morning and what a turn up for the books it’s proven … he’s already established himself and is an enthusiastic and competent new recruit and budding entomologist; good eyes and nimble fingers, perfect for spotting and separating bugs … he learns fast, the mind of an inquisitive boy is perfectly suited to investigating the strange going’s on at the bottom of the river bed.   A little enthusiasm goes a long way with a task that needs doing monthly (year in year out) and I’m pleased he’s taken an interest.  The timing was good, as the onset of March has seen an abundant sampling set with large numbers of bugs in the net; this bodes well for this seasons fish stocks and shows the river is in good health.  I can now look forward to sampling through the spring and summer with a new side kick – hopefully his enthusiasm will hold up through the winter but I’m not too worried, even is he’d rather stay inside during the few cold months, it’s good to know there’s a little back up available for the odd outing when the sun shines. 

For more information on the Riverfly Partnership Angler’s Monitoring Initiative please see here www.riverflies.org .

Excuse the picture quality, they’re taken from my mobile phone:

Tight Lines, Splash & Son