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Friday 26th November 1999, 1/2

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HARD FERN grows on a dry bank beneath Oaks and Birches in the wood. It keeps its hard comb-like fronds throughout the winter. It's not common around here, and this is the first time I remember having seen it in the area.

Today I'm with a class of children from the local junior school. While being with a group of 33 livley children isn't the best way to bird watch or see shier animals, all those keen eyes are a help when it comes to finding smaller creatures. As you'd expect, they enjoy pond-dipping the stream . . . and most of them get their feet wet. Very wet.


blackfly larvacased caddis larva Fast side-swimming Freshwater Shrimps vastly outnumber everything else at the first two sites we sample. But we also catch Blackfly larvae, which attach themselves to a rock with a sucker and a Caddisfly larva, in a case that it has constructed from plant fragments.

green shield bug There's a Green Shield Bug at the water's edge. It has lost its bright green summer colour and turned a shade of bronze as it prepares for hibernation. This species doesn't have an underwater stage, the streamside is probably just a suitable place to spend the winter.

There's also a small reddish moth and a slug-like larva amongst the leaf litter.

We went downstream for a third pond-dipping session . . .

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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