Tuesday, 4 August 2009

River Dipping

A slight variation on the theme of pond dipping, same equipment, even some of the same animals to be found. This visit was to be on the River Tale at Escot Estate with my daughter, (as a birthday treat!!!). Having bought some bits and pieces for me.... errr I mean her, we set off full of enthusiasm despite the threatening weather. En route we found many insects some we were able to catch and examine and some to photograph. Large White butterflies feeding on the thistles along with a 5 Spot Burnet Moth, numerous grasshoppers, hover flies, damselflies and even a fleeting glimpse of a dragonfly!

5 Spot Burnet MothLarge White

On arrival at the riverside we dispensed with our sodden footwear, (somebody forgot to pack the wellies!!!), and proceeded to prod, sweep and generally churn up the bottom of the river to see what we could turn up. Indeed what we caught was a large amount of Bullheads, Stone Loach, an Eel, Minnows, several Mayfly Nymphs, Nematodes, Screech Beetles and a stunning Damselfly larvae, all in all a very successful dip, until we were disturbed by some out of control Labradors!!!. So lunch had, wildlife viewed, identified and returned we headed to the gardens to see what we could find of the Lizard variety.

This turned out to be particularly successful with 6 adults found and a dozen 1-3 week old babies, I'm sure there are more, last year saw over 60 individuals in a single survey, however the weather was not in our favour nor the time of day. They like to bask in temperatures between 9 - 21 Celsius and have an optimum internal temp of 30 degrees, so in the middle of the day tend to seek shade or hunt for small insects rather than sit invitingly for us to view.

Baby Lizard Adult Lizards

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