Under the heading of A Better Biss Approach (ABBA), Wiltshire Wildlife’s Water Team have been conducting a series of events designed to bring the waterways of the Biss Valley to public attention. Yesterday Alice and Nick from the Water Team came to Southwick Country Park for a River Day, to take a group of children and adults dipping in the Lambrok Stream.
Ian Bushell joined them and has sent in this report:
We met up at 1 pm in the car park and after introductions and a safety briefing moved off to the 1st bend in the Lambrok, litter picking on the way. Here, the bottom of the stream is clay and where it is used by dogs it is sterile. However, Alice, in waders, netted various areas just upstream of this and the results were emptied into the trays and then clean water was added to dilute the whole.
What treasures! The younger members excitedly pointed out the various creatures as they moved about in the trays; a Three-Spined Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), Water Louse (Asellus aquaticus), juvenile snails of both Great Ram’s Horn (Planorbis corneus) and Great Pond Snail (Limnaea stagnalis), juvenile forms of probably both Swan Mussels (Anodonata cygnea) and Fingernail Clams (Sphaernium corneum), Greater water boatman (Notonecta glauca) and a small Diving Beetle (Platambus maculatus).
We moved on downstream and dipped in another couple of times where it was accessible and safe to do so. Some parts of the river have a gravelly bottom as opposed to the clay but generally each stop confirmed our first findings with many Sticklebacks, both adult and this year’s fry, plus a small leech and, a real bonus, a young Bullhead (Cottus gobia).
We then made our way to the pond in Village Green where the children enthusiastically dipped and turned up more Sticklebacks and snails. During our searching we also saw both Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) and Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens), Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) and a pair of Broad-bodied Chasers (Libellula depressa) over the pond.
The water quality of Lambrok Stream is good and it is encouraging that there is so much evidence of breeding across the species.
It was coming on for four o’clock as we made our way back to the car park. It was a lovely afternoon, good weather and some interesting finds to think about. Many thanks to Alice and Nick, and now I must update our Species List