Saturday, 7 April 2018

Looking for New Life in March and April

I was lucky to catch this pair of frogs spawning!  When they separated I could still see them clearly on the bed of the stream the water is so clear.



Can you find two insects in the picture below?

Part of the planned seeding - Speedwell...

Shepherds' Purse (white) and Self-heal (pink)
So what else lives in the stream?  This is the spot we tested for water quality.

And here are some of what we found...
Freshwater shrimps - the larger male holds onto the female until she sheds her skin and he can mate with her.  Now I know what the egrets and herons we often see fishing in the stream are looking for!  There are also midge larvae, water hoglouse and leeches.  

 It's a bit of a mystery what's going on in the borrow pit, but these Canada Geese love it, and the Reed Bunting below.  Others have told me they've seen several varieties of duck, a little ringed plover again and even a snipe! 

To finish off, here is video of one favourite spot, where the south-flowing Ouzel Brook joins Houghton Brook underneath a grove of rare native Black Poplars.  I have been unable to spot where this conjunction appears on the HRN1 plans so far.  Clearly there is plenty of water in Ouzel Brook at the present after all the rain and snow we've had in March, but sadly its path along the hedge is blocked with debris and rubbish.  The hedge and ditch could (and should) become a vital green corridor for wildlife in the new estate. 

I love watching the ripples and reflections at this spot, it's very restful.  Other items that glint in the sun are not so welcome as creatures could get trapped inside an aluminium drinks can or plastic bottle.  Only at this time of year can one see the bed of the brook so clearly before vegetation grows up in and around the stream.  See what you can spot in the water while you can; shrimps, fish, snails and soon tadpoles are all there to be spotted with the naked eye, and you even may be lucky enough as I was to see a frog.  The easiest place to spot activity is against the golden gravel background in sunshine.  I am hoping I might also see sticklebacks one day.
 For more details of where to spot what, please contact me via the 'contact' button.  Don't miss the opportunity to spot spring happening right here!