Friday, 12 June 2020
Poor Mayfly, Broad Beans and Fiddling with Time
Right, despite the best efforts of “Our Great Leader” and his cabal of clowns, (selected for their Cummings compliancy rating, there are more capable coves in the house) I’ll do my best to keep this one light.
No coughing here by the way, and we do take our temperature each day on the morn with graphs subsequently produced.
For the first time in many years hatches of mayfly have been disappointing. We have seen no significant hatch, dance or fall of spent. It is the same story on much of the river, with the Upper Itchen the only exception. Not sure as to the reason why. There will always be a downstream displacement of mayfly nymphs in times of high winter flow, but every Ephemera Danica that was washed downstream would be replaced by one from upstream. A brief shuffle in the gravel with a fine mesh net to sample invertebrates betrays numbers of mayfly nymphs and much more besides. A Mayfly can run on a one year or a two year contract on the bed of the river, although I’m not sure what triggers the critter to sign for the two year option. The odd yellow sally is now putting in an appearance. A portent of the end of the mayfly season for another year.
I don’t know how this happened.
Someone has fiddled with time.
Twenty seven years ago, on the opening day of the June weed cut I returned home from cutting weed on the top shallows to be informed that sandwiches were off, water had broken and we must make haste for Winchester County Hospital. It was a long process, but Child A eventually put in an appearance around lunch time the next day, perfectly healthy, if a little grey. Child A was given the moniker Maisie because it was still Mayfly time and Madam railed against my suggestion of Danica or Ephemera, a compromise was reached with Maisie. Child B’s launch followed a similar process. Born in January I initially suggested “Snowdrop”, with “Aconite” as a backup/middle name.
Both suggestions were dismissed out of hand by Madam.
Anyway, the medium size ash tree is around thirty feet high and on several occasions that I have haunted the place in the name of weed removal the Merlin has perched in it’s upper branches. I’ve yet to get a photograph, and I’m not sure, but the frustrated falcon may have gone spooney over the plastic predator that sits on top of my shed.
That’s the tale I tell my fellow allotmenteers, who seem to give my plot an increasingly wide berth.