But the storm passed and the scouts eagerly got stuck in. They pulled out a tubfulls of snails, sticklebacks and other wriggly things.
In one of the pots ther was a bit of excitement as large male 3-spined Stickleback attacked and tried to cannibalise one of this year’s tiny fry.
It grabbed it amidships and seemed to be trying to turn it headfirst to be swallowed but the little fella wouldn’t go despite being killed, maybe it was those spines doing what they are supposed to do. The deceased fish, showing its erect spines and a bite sized chunk out of its belly, can be clearly seen in the top right of the photo. But what is most interesting about this tale is that in all my years of keeping sticklebacks in jars, tanks etc I have never seen them try to eat each other. Is this ‘normal’ behaviour, was it brought about by them being in the confined space, why pick on that particular one – it wasn’t the smallest in the pot?…Questions, questions, questions…wouldn’t life be boring if we’d seen everything and had all the answers. Any one ever seen this behaviour before?
Other stuff included a rather fat Diving Beetle that was far too agile to get its photo taken. Both front swimming and back swimming Water Boatmen were duly netted.
Snails included the Common Pond Snail, a lot of the small Bithynia snails and just three Keeled Ramshorn snails.
A Damselfly nymph was centre of attention until someone else copped for the exuvia of a Dragonfly to howls of terror and/or wonder.
After they had gone all was quiet in the garden and a Dunnock could be heard giving its autumn long ‘seeep’ call. Warren is right about autumn being just about with us.
And if anyone was wondering what on earth we were trying to photograph on our recent trip to Bowland (you probably weren’t) then take a look at Mike Watson’s header on his blog, a far superior effort than our brownish blobs in the very distant distance.
Where to next? Leading a Brownie pack looking for butterflies this evening…monsoons permitting.
In the meantime let us know how much of your outback has been washed away.