Monday, August 3, 2009
Heavy heavy showers, few fishermen on the bank and few fish coming out of the river; the majority of fish that have been caught, taken on small drab nymphs. Anything too flashy or splashy in the low clear water scaring more than it attracts. A few more big fish have been lost, in various parts of the river. Playing and landing the long established leviathan Browns difficult in a heavily weeded river and on fined down tackle. The Blanket Weed has really taken off and in some stretches has smothered the Water Celery and Ranunculus, it has bloomed very quickly this year which is surprising given the mixed weather of the past few weeks.
The Pheasants have arrived; the collection day put back several times after heavy showers were forecast. At eight weeks old they are fairly hardy but can still be susceptible to a heavy deluge that can leave them cold and wet and result in losses. The showery weather is also perfect conditions for the onset of Gapes in the young birds. A nematode worm that sits in the windpipe of the young bird it will eventually kill its host if left untreated. The infected Poult will make a coughing sound and gasp for air. Many treatments are available although most of the effective off the shelf treatments are now only available on prescription; today the easiest way to administer the treatment is to buy food with it already added.
Many of the surrounding fields are fit to cut, much of the Winter Barley and Rape has been cut, although with ninety percent of the harvest still to be carried out there must be some concern over the medium term weather forecast. The strips of Maize grown for gamecover are some of the best in years unlike much of the other maize grown in the valley for cattle feed. Once the fields have been cut these strips of Maize act like a magnet for all wildlife looking for shelter and food.
Some Ducks have found the small patch of Barley cut on the outskirts of the village and are choosing to pitch in there in the evening to fill up on spilt Barley rather than the safety of a sheet of water. A skein of Geese makes it’s way noisily up and down the valley looking for stubbles to feed on.
I have just completed the monthly invertebrate sample which threw up identical results to last month; there were large numbers of small Mayfly nymphs which bodes well for next year and thousands of Gammarus. Blue Winged Olives, however continue to be thin on the ground.