River Monster

No more than the size of your thumbnail, I found this young crayfish in the bank-side silts of the river Rib at the weekend. It is a young Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, a north american native species introduced to Europe via Sweden and Finland in the 1960s. This was to ‘replace’ the…

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Here be dragons

…. in the form of this beautiful female common darter Sympetrum striolatum that rested awhile with us today. I’m reasonably confident of the identification, due to the shape and extent of the black pattern at the base of the frons (the dorsal part of the face, i.e. ‘the nose’). Damselflies…

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Blink and you miss it….

The Women’s Cycling Tour of Britain has been rolling through the leafy lanes Hertfordshire over the few days and almost made it to our front door. On Saturday morning the procession came the closest as it wound a path from Cold Christmas to Much Hadham and we popped along to…

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Adder in the woods

I opened my eyes. A morning sleep after a full breakfast and the previous night’s adventures at Bempton had been just the ticket, the quiet wood I had found seemingly the perfect spot.I sat up, climbed out of the bedroll and looked around, reaching out to retrieve first one, then…

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Clifftop dawn

I pulled open the bivy bag cover and light flooded my consciousness. Sunlight, sound and birds battered the senses. No more the gentle calls of midnight, that crept through the dark to whisper in straining ears. This was full on, in your face, high volume cacophony. Gulls, gannets, puffins, and…

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A night on the cliffs at Bempton

Equipment set and bedded down in my bivy by midnight, I hit the record button and settled in. Cocooned in my sleeping bag, I clamped headphones tight to my ears and slipped away into the sounds of the night. I had travelled up from Hertfordshire during the afternoon, arriving in…

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Ancient Lamprey

Lampreys are ancient.450 million years ago ancient, fossils of them having been discovered from the late Silurian and Devonian periods. On Saturday, whilst paddling in the river with the local archaeology group I quite unexpectedly came across some in the shallows. They belong to a small group of stone suckers…

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