Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Ock Valley Walk

The car is in for repairs, so it's been a good opportunity to catch up with life and death along the 'Ock Valley Walk' - a footpath from Drayton road to the town centre.

The mallard ducklings have now grown considerably, but it's good to see so many of them (I've counted 9) as ducklings suffer from a high mortality rate

Further along is this rather unpleasant site of a dead crayfish, possibly an unwanted catch of a fisherman, apparently it is illegal to replace caught non-native crayfish. It doesn't seem to have been predated, but I didn't check to closely.

It is almost certainly an american signal crayfish (although there are five non native crayfish in the UK) - which have escaped from 'crayfish farms' throughout the country and have replaced the native white claw crayfish in many of the UK's water ways due to being stronger and carrying a fungus that is fatal to the natives.
Although it is often held responsible for damaging many ecosystems, water voles have been known to eat them,


The biodiversity crisis and Crustacea
: J. C. von Vaupel Klein, Frederick R. Schram
Essex Biodiversity Project:

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