We have had another busy week of holiday activities discovering the wonderful wetland wildlife on our ‘Wild Days Out’. It involved some of our first pond dipping of the year and what was obvious straight away was the distinct lack of newts in the pond; we are hoping it is just due to the cold weather and that they are all still tucked away some where warm in the woodland and haven’t made their trek back to the pond. Fingers crossed it is this and not that the kingfisher has gobbled them all up! There is an amazing abundance of hoglice and cased caddisfly larvae though, including the three in this photo. Cased caddisfly larvae produce silk which they use to sew materials together to create a tube to live in. One had made itself a leaf sleeping bag; whilst the other two fashioned the pond weed and stick look.
There was then the easter egg challenge to create a boat out of junk that could carry a stone egg down the river. The children came up with some brilliant results – including an underwater submersible!
We then moved on to river dipping. This was our first venture into the river for the year so we caught lots of fish including loads of bullhead, a minnow and a beautiful young brown trout.
Even more exciting was the discovery of 2 brook lamprey; a primitive eel like fish. They spend most of their lives buried in the mud only emerging into the water to breed at this time of year.
In bird news there were 2 common terns on Ibsley Water yesterday and at least one pair of little ringed plovers.