On Saturday 13 November we paid a visit to Belcarra and the Manulla River which runs through the town.
The river was deep and in full flow after recent rain. We sampled it at just downstream of the sports centre on the Riverside Walk.
We examined a number of samples of the macroinvertebrates that live in the river. A nice range of mayflies, stoneflies, caddis flies and damsel flies plus non-biting midges (chironomids) were identified plus a number of non-insect types such as the shrimp Gammarus, hog louse Asellus and a range of beetles and leeches among others.
The types that are sensitive to pollution were pointed out and on the other side of the scales those that are tolerant of pollution were noted too. The mix and gather found on the day indicated that the river is in good nick (to use the technical term). It is in good ecological status in other words.
We walked downstream along the Tidy Towns Riverside Walk, passing the town’s upgraded waste water treatment plant on the way. A brief discussion about the workings of sewage works – how they work to (hopefully) protect the river they discharge into – what happens when you flush!
Jackie Hunt talked about the local birds emphasising the three river-dependent species: Kingfisher, Dipper and Grey Wagtail and their specific river needs in terms of nesting, food and habitat.