Notes from The Beach

Our riverside beach is a wonderful village asset, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) be-cause of its special eco system. As such, the Environment Agency takes a keen interest in what goes on down there, and can enforce changes if they find us wanting in terms of caring for it. So it was a trifle nerve wracking when they turned up unannounced on October 8th requesting access for their vehicles to do a site survey!!
They were jolly friendly though, and their main interest was their occasional fish survey of the river. They were particularly interested in whether low river levels last year would have prevented salmon from accessing their spawning grounds at the upper reaches of the river.
The fish survey involves stringing a wire across the river, passing a current through the wire, landing the stunned fish to count them and then returning them to the water. As well as a very healthy level of minnows, bull head and stone loaches, they found 8 baby Atlantic salmon making their way back to the sea – slightly lower than some years, but better than anticipated. They reported a good adult salmon population in the river outside Worcester which they expected to make their way upstream as soon a river levels rose. With heavy rain in mid October, several spawning salmon should hopefully have leaped over the weir since then.
Another visitor after the rain was a Dipper, hopping along the newly beached tree trunks hunting for food caught in the vegetation washed up with the wood. We have several Dippers living around The Beach, but they usually dive to feed from the river bed, so it is both fascinating and unusual to see them feeding like this so close to the bank.
Margaret Delattre