The last two days have been spent catching and releasing freshwater white-clawed crayfish. The aim is to establish an 'ark' site in suitable habitat and water conditions in rivers/streams where they do not exist. The River Wansbeck is 'the' river for native crayfish in the UK if not Europe. Other populations have Signal Crayfish or other species that carry plague within their catchments and the natives will most likely become extinct. The pioneer native crayfish, under Environment Agency / Natural England licence, were moved. Most appear to have settled into the their new homes.
Kingfisher (1), dipper (2) grey wagtails (2) and a migrant hawker dragonfly were present at the 'donor' site on the Wansbeck. There was a lot of evidence of otter with both spraint and tracks. Otters do target crayfish at this time of year. Male freshwater crayfish set up territories on the bed of the watercourse and guard them with vigour. Unfortunately, this means that the males are easy prey for our aquatic mustelid.
Large numbers of meadow pipits, chaffinches and goldfinches have appeared in the last few days.