Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Monday 30 June 2014

Up - date

One, of a number of grasshoppers, that Emily and I encountered on
Saturday morning.
Since the funeral of Anne, life has started to regain some sense of normality for Bev and I. Gadget has popped in a couple of times and seems to be coping reasonably well; "good and bad days" is how he described it. It was a well attended service, showing the extent to which Anne impacted on so many others lives. It was particularly nice to see Graham Crick (representing SBBOT), Franny and Dave Mairs. The latter two joining us for a couple of beers in The Racing Greyhound after the service.  Dave is always good value and humour is always present during any type of conversation, Franny spoke of "this and that!" and pointed out that my "silvella" wasn't, although he hadn't seen it. Obviously I'd screwed up and made a bad call - Franny knows and I don't; and that's the bottom line.
So in future I will refrain from labelling my images with anything more than a simple "Micro sp." it will save a lot of trouble.
A grass-moth sp.
Emily and I went "bug hunting" on the marshes of the Little Stour early on Saturday morning. The weather was superb, but due to deteriorate by mid-morning and so it did. Before the rain came, we had seen a nice selection of damselflies, a couple of dragonflies, umpteen grasshoppers and a nice array of common butterflies. A pair of Little Owls greeted us, as I parked the car and couple of young rabbits were hopping about nearby, much to Emily's amusement. A quick stop at my Dad's, on the way home, allowed Emily to get a chocolate fix and continue the "bug hunt" in the still erected marquee. The high-light being a Cucumber Spider (Araniella cucurbitina ?) which was discovered on one of the metal poles.
The striking Cucumber Spider - Araniella sp. (possibly cucurbitina)
Sunday was a day of relaxation, a breakfast in The David Copperfield, a quick trip to Tesco at Westwood Cross to pick up some much needed provisions (Tesco Value sweetcorn at 35p/tin and some insect repellent) as I was going fishing on the Stour in the evening. The weather was perfect, as it could be, heavy cloud, bouts of rain and a river carrying a couple of inches of extra water and associated colour. I had the place to myself and headed straight for the best known swim on the section. I baited with a decent carpet of particles (using a bait dropper) and fished an 18mm pellet, glugged in Tutti and Shrimp, over the top.
A Wood Mouse foraging for spilled particles right by my feet. Taken using the 18 - 55 mm
lens and flash - so it was very close!
I'd love to report my first barbel of the campaign, but I can't. The whole session saw me plagued by sodding eels. Savage, reel spinning, slams on the rod-tip as these poxy fish grabbed the pellet and engaged reverse in the swift current. I stayed until 23.30 hrs, but should have packed up as it got dark - I was completely wasting my time.
An angler's nightmare - if we had more of these creatures in our rivers, Otters wouldn't be seen as
 the enemy by many anglers. Otters love to eat them, so let's hope they colonise the Stour
soon and thin these slimy pests out. Eels are a protected species; why?
 Because the water quality in many of our rivers is so poor that these fish have succumbed to
 the high levels of pollutants that the water companies are legally pumping into our waterways.
This lack of eels and the ridiculous re-stocking policies, of many angling clubs/Environment Agency
 has led to a situation where artificially high densities, of non-native species, are mistakenly
seen as indicators of the health of our fisheries.
 Otters are not the villains of this scenario, but the victims of their own success. Get the
natural balance back into these eco-systems and, by doing so, get the water companies to clean up
 their act, then and only then, will our fisheries be a true indicator of the state of our environment.
Rant over!
I've been reading some other angling blogs whose writers are eel anglers - going on about roll-over bite indicators and resistance free rigs! Not on The Stour - these bloody nuisances are quite capable of steaming off with a 3oz semi-fixed, in line, and a tightened down clutch on a centre-pin, producing the type of bite that any barbel would be proud of.


  1. That's a really interesting last couple of paragraphs, Dyl. Interesting to hear it said from an insider of the angling fraternity, its not something I generally hear a lot of. Take it easy mate.

    1. Seth, I get really pissed off when I hear anglers moaning about Otters, especially Barbel anglers! Barbel are native to just three river systems within the UK yet are found in 82 rivers the length and breadth of the country, introduced by clubs (and individuals - all very covert and highly illegal) who are now whining about a native predator taking advantage of this species. If the water quality was sufficient to support a healthy population of Eels, then the breeding success of Barbel (and other species) would be limited by the eels feeding on the spawn and young fry. Healthy rivers are able to support a wide variety of species which co-exist in a balance which see the predator/prey pyramid in some form of balance. Pike used to get this bad press until The Great Ouse River Authority introduced Zander into their catchment area. No natural predators within UK waters ensured a complete environmental disaster - Zander numbers developed at a rate that wild rabbits would applaud!
      So in 2014 we have the shooters blaming Common Buzzards for poor Pheasant numbers and now anglers moaning about Otters eating fish that shouldn't be in the rivers where they are found. Eels have zero tollerence of polution, they are the very first species to show signs of distress in any incident. The very fact that they are now such a rarity in UK rivers speaks volumes about the indusry that purports to be providing wholesome drinking water to the populus and remain committed gaurdians of our river systems. It's all about the dollar and getting away with the minimum effluent treatment that our pathetic laws allow. Rivers full of Barbel, Carp, Chub and Perch might look healthy, but the lack of Sticklebacks, Eels, Stone Loach and Bullheads says so much more. Yes I am an angler, but a very old one who can remember the days when rivers really did teem with fish; Minnows and Gudgeon were a nuisance and Eels could be caught from any river system within the Kingdom - the benefit of age and a sign of the times I guess? Great to hear from you - take care