Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

23-04-2015: Eel training and other upcoming events

First eel trainee class of 2015
We had a great eel training event on Wednesday at Knights Park and Middle Mill. 

Setting up the trap in 2015

We started the afternoon setting up the eel trap at middle mill. I managed to get some shots of the honey bees feeding on the shrubbery in the car park – I don’t know about you, but I find the sound of the humming bees fairly soothing – if you do too – look out for them around the campus.
Busy bees

Joe Pecorelli from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) coordinates the project for ZSL across London. The project has been running for around 4 years now and the project report  makes for interesting reading. It clearly shows how your hard work on this project has helped create the case for, and obtaining funding for practical solutions to eel migration barriers.

Breaking new ground
Joe explained about the project background, and how Ernst Johannes Schmidt was the first biologist to discover that all baby eels travelled to Europe from the Sargasso Sea.

After going through the health and safety for the project, we went out to the site and showed people how to undertake a check of the traps.
My suggestion to use a small twig to mimic a baby eel for demonstration purposes was met with some laughter as the real thing is a lot more wiggly!! 
Joe explains how to measure the young eels
While taking people thought the process we noticed that the swans in the upstream channel were acting a little odd in that rather than feeding, they were deliberately moving large branches and silt to a particular submerged location in the river. We suspect that they may be in the process of creating a nest and will find out in due course if we are correct – but that’s a lot of building they have in front of them if they want to get the platform above the water level!
New architect students at MM
Our next Eel Monitoring training session is on Wednesday 6 May, from 2-4pm. If you are interested in joining in with this project, please get in touch as there are places left for volunteers.

In May we have a river bank maintenance event on the 13th to help clear the dominate watercress from around newly planted irises to give them a chance to properly establish. 

However while we are working to clear these on the bank, I'm happy to report that the watercress appears to be colonising the river outside of the bank and kicking the proverbial butt of the filamentous algae.

On the 27th we will have our first balsam bash of the year. Unfortunately we've had about 6-8 plants on the new embankment and even on the baffles where silt and vegetation is accumulating!
Balsam plantlets rearing its pretty but invasive head above the other plants
Look out for the May newsletter coming out soon where we’ll have details of the bat walk too (you’ll need to be signed up to receive it), so if you don’t receive it sign up here.

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