I’m sure we’re all enjoying spring as it gives way to summer. So is the natural world. Birds are working to feed their young with pigeons, crows, great tits, blue tits, house sparrows and many others taking food to their nests. In local streams and rivers willow moss and algae are growing fast, shrimps, olive mayflies, caddis flies and damsel flies are active, and fish (plus otters and water voles if they’re around) are feeding hard on the food around them.
On Friday 19th May an ecologist from Bristol Avon Rivers Trust visited to survey the Trym for the Trout in the Trym group, aiming to see if there are water voles present. Sightings have been reported and it’s worth answering this question as, while they were once common, they are now rare (red listed) in the UK. It’s a good time of year for a survey as the number of voles increases in spring. They will be feeding hard and leaving signs of eating plants and leaving poo.
The riverbanks were thoroughly surveyed in the Sea Mills area and also in Badock’s Wood. Unfortunately, the findings were clear – no water voles. There was evidence of bank voles and brown rats – but that was it. It is likely that folks have spotted the odd individual passing through looking to find a new territory, but none have settled. It appears the habitat isn’t quite right. A shame but now we know. We’re grateful to the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership for funding the survey.
On the plus side the survey found evidence of otters. These will be individuals passing through. They have big territories and visit different areas before moving on. We may never see them because they’re careful to avoid people and dogs but it’s amazing to know they’ve been here. The trout, eels and roach in the Trym will know that too. In fact, this year there seem to be fewer trout and they are more wary than ever, possibly down to otter activity.
You may see Trout in the Trym volunteers litter picking and removing rubbish in the Trym and Hazel Brook. We do river cleaning sessions on Fridays which you’re welcome to join! Volunteers are also discussing water quality with Wessex Water who have shared their plan to fix the worst Combined Sewer Outflows (CSOs) in our area. Other actions to improve water quality are being considered by them too. With cleaner water and no rubbish our streams can become abundant natural pathways linking up other green spaces. By reporting suspected pollution to Wessex Water and never putting oil, paint, and wet wipes down the drains or toilets we can all help keep the river clean. Even getting a water butt we can make a difference. You may have seen the sign at Badock’s Wood as a reminder.
Already our streams look better. As you can see from the photos, a visit to the Trym in Southmead is beautiful at the moment with wonderful cow parsley flowering all along its banks. This is great for butterflies and hoverflies which are valuable pollinators and in need of a helping hand!
Wessex Water: 0345 600 4600
Find out more about Trout in the Trym on their website: www.troutinthetrym.co.uk
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org