The River Mole, at the foot of Box Hill

May 2015 Riversearch

I chose another glorious afternoon for my May Riversearch survey. It’s a joy to be out and about in the May sunshine – the trees wearing their new gowns of leaves, every wildflower bursting with the joy of life.

The River Mole, at the foot of Box Hill
The River Mole, at the foot of Box Hill

BlossomButterflies and damesflies were busy making the most of the good weather, and birds were busy with bringing up youngsters.

Brimstone butterfly on a red campion, among cow parsley
Brimstone butterfly on a red campion, among cow parsley
Banded demoiselle damselfly
Banded demoiselle damselfly

The river was back to its normal level, with the Stepping Stones easily crossable (if a little slippery). There were no signs of pollution, and no fresh fly tipping.

Few people were out and about – just a few youngsters enjoying sitting round, listening to music and chatting (enjoying the start of half term, and a brief respite from exams).

I came across an iIntriguing hole in a tree trunkntriguing hole in a tree trunk – not sure who was using it.

So much has grown up since my last survey, it was much harder to see the river. A thick wall of waist-high stinging nettles defeated me in some places – I’d need thicker trousers before I attempt to force may way through them! By the time of my next survey they may well be as tall as me, limiting the thoroughness of my data collection.

Stinging nettles
Stinging nettles

Sadly not everything was so positive. When I looked under the bridge to check for signs of otters I came across someone sleeping rough. Not a great place to set up camp for any length of time, as though the river level was ok, any heavy rain and the river would easily cover where the person was sleeping.

The other negative to my survey was signs of Himalayan Balsam returning. I only spotted a few metres of the stuff, but give it a month or two and it’s likely to have engulfed much more of the riverbank.

Himalayan Balsam emerging again
Himalayan Balsam emerging again

 

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