As we scrambled into the field at Dirty Bridge, we saw a lot of silt that had run off from the track and into the river. and it looked like the stream had been cut into a channel; a very straight one, many years ago. There were the remains of what looked like an old field wall now overgrown and holding it in place, only discernable by bashing the pole of our net into it and hearing the clink of limestone.
It was a shame to see the Windrush tamed into a ditch so early on, and therefore even better to see it escape the wall a couple of hundred metres down, where it came spilling into the field in front of us an took on a meandering path through soaked ground.
Archie, the labradoodle was 50 metres ahead when an owl flopped out of a tree over the river and dropped down over him, very unsteady in the fierce wind. At that point, about 2 metres above the dog, I suspect the owl realised that was not definitely not the vole it had in mind and bowled back into tree cover to ponder that Specsavers moment.
We had the invertebrate net with us so Ted was able to rummage around in the stream to see what we could find. Plenty of gammarus (freshwater shrimp) and a few cased caddis grubs stuck under stones in their cases made from tiny pieces of stone and whatever sticks together.
Riverfly monitoring will feature a lot as we go downstream and it is as much about what we can't find as what we can. We will also be looking for more volunteers to join our Riverfly team.
So now we need to think about taking water samples. More on that tomorrow.