Responding to the barmy pre spring sunshine I decided to chance my arm and take the kids pond dipping - Too early I hear you cry however what else do you do with two inqusitive kids on such a cracking day, surely it's worth a try? And so nets, pot's, binoculars, books and tray off we set to Seaton Marshes and my now rather favourite spot of Borrow Pit.
A visit to the bird hide allowed us an impromptu viewing of the many waders currently feeding on the Estuary mudflats, Black Tailed Godwits, Common Sandpipers, Redshank, Dunlin, Little Egret and Curlew were all apparent, whilst the feeders when not being attacked by the rats had gangs of Greenfinches fightng over the goodies. Wigeon, Teal, Grebes and Shelduck rested upon the flooded marshes whilst Buzzards soared overhead.
So a short walk, that was interupted by some important counting,(more of that to come later!), off to Borrow Pit so we could break out the nets. I must admit I was not expecting much and the first few sweeps brought up no more than a handful of Water Snails and the odd Water Hog Louse or Water Slater as it is also known. Patience and I suspect practice paid off though as we started to pull in Nymphs, then Water Boatmen and then Great Diving Beetles. We also caught a couple of Sticklebacks and even a Caddis Fly larvae the case of which can be seen under the Water Boatman illustrated. The larvae constructs a home of tiny stones, shell fragments and other detritus glued together to give it protection from predators
I suspect that my summer will be spent visiting the site many times with my children to repeat the excercise, though I hope to catch up with Grass snakes and Water Voles as well. The Dragonflies, Damselflies and other pond dwellers will be well documented also, I can assure you!