Friday, 28 March 2014

Fishing for Shrimp! the Swallows arrive!

The River Avon on the left borders South Efford Marsh on the right.
First thing in the morning while the children were in registration, I planted some "fish traps" in the creeks. These are very simple traps made from a bottle cut in half and then the top is inverted. Here's the general very simple principal...

The spot where the fish traps were laid.
We made 1 trap in the class session and laid this along with two others in different patches. One I laid deeper in the creek, the other in the shallows and the last in the shallows but under the shade of a small tree. I was sure that we would return later in the day to find some fish! Two weeks ago we had seen what seemed like hundreds of quite possibly juvenile Mullet in the water by the bird hide. A couple of locals had also said that they'd regularly seen Kingfisher fishing successfully in the water.

When the children arrived we helped the contractors who were laying paths for Devon Wildlife Trust bed them in by being the first to walk them! On the way we noticed how many more flowers had grown on the Gorse.

The freshly laid path by DWT, bordered by willow.
The Gorse is really coming in to bloom!
 DWT had very kindly laid an access point for the stream for us so that we could get to the creeks relatively easily and safely. The children sat down as I carefully pulled the pots up and we emptied them on to the tray...LIFE!

Ok so it wasn't fish but the bottles were full of shrimp! This is a great sign of healthy water. The children went on to do some pond dipping and found more freshwater invertebrates. Using a key they identified a Water Beetle, Freshwater Hoglouse and a Water Boatman. We discussed whether we might find more invertebrates later next term as the water warms...time will tell!
Pond dipping and fishing in the creek.

Children enjoying watching the shrimp.

It certainly is warming too..slowly! We measured the temperature which 2 weeks ago was 12.9C and yesterday read 13.1C despite it being a considerably chillier day!

We also put a small fishing rod in to the creek baited with a mealworm...the children took turns to hold the rod but alas no nibbles today.

Despite having not caught any fish the children enjoyed watching the erratically jumping shrimp and witnessing South Efford Marsh slowly come alive as we approach the clocks going forward this weekend.

After the session I bumped into a local bird watcher who informed me that the first swallows had arrived at South Efford Marsh that afternoon! We will have to keep a good look out for them next week!

Next week we will be laying pitfall traps and also Longworth traps to see what insects and small mammals are lurking in the undergrowth!

As far as the Otter are concerned here is a fab video of an otter that was filmed at South Efford Marsh very recently... (Feb 2014)

A clear path made by Otter down to the creek!

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