Monday 11 March 2013

...and Did the Disco Maggots Dance?

Nope:  The maggots that caused so much trouble the night before were sullen on the fishing trip, and refused to parley with the fish. I threw them at the river all day long and the river, in cahoots with all its denizens, ignored them completely.  On a day when I started with supreme confidence, with both water and air temperature about 8 degrees Centigrade  ( only about 1 degree with the wind chill factoring in its evil influence on my hands and feet), the river disappointed me.  Other anglers who packed away their tackle earlier than did I, reported blanks.  The river was low, and I was only saved from a total blank as the light started to fade, when a chub of about 2 & 1/2 pounds took a lump of breadflake. It gave a pleasingly spirited scrap and so I hung on for an evening feeding spree, but should instead have gone home. The birdlife was nearly a disappointment too. By mid afternoon I had seen only swans, mallards, blackheaded gulls ( some with their newly blackened heads), and a solitary black backed gull.   Impressive bird: it flew upstream into a headwind, using its wings only for control, not a flap to be seen. Yet it gained height as it did so.  So much for simple "O" level physics. An oystercatcher, heard but not seen, almost completed the ornithological experiences for the day.

But a gorgeous little kestrel performed a long fly past downriver, and later another, upriver, hovering briefly before perching on a nearby wire during a brief spell of sunshine.
That alone would have made the day worthwhile, but later a very rare event: A couple of avocets landed briefly on some exposed mudflats a little way downstream.  Too far away for my camera, even with the 300 lens fitted, and had I not seen avocets before they would have been too far away for me to properly identify. Waders are not my strongest suit. I will instead add a couple of avocet photographs that I took a couple of years ago near the Ribble.  Such spectacular birds, as indeed are most of those with exclusively black and white plumage. Not as delicate at they look, and can get quite aggressive, especially when their young are in danger.  And such crazy long upturned bills.  If you think the Chinese make eating difficult with chopsticks, be prepared to be amazed what this bird can do with a beak that looks to be totally unsuited to the job.
Avocet With Young


And I can now answer the flyspray question, as posed in the last post.  Fly spray, used conventionally, does not seem to bother maggots at all.  Over the following couple of days I picked up a steadily decreasing quantity during each visit to the cellar.    The numbers decreasing only, I suspect, because the remaining wanderers had found suitable crevices in which to hide.   Few more will now be captured, as they have started to pupate.   There will soon be many hundreds of flies buzzing around the underfloor space.   Last time there were only a few dozen, but some still emerged from the cellar into the house at large.   I passed them off to the wife as having flown in through the kitchen window.   It was Summer then, and I know that the excuse will not wear this time.

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