More than a few days without an entry on a new blog site is clearly unacceptable so not before time here is the first entry.

 

This first post is by Brian Shaw, Senior biologist with the Trust, although other staff members will also contribute.

 

I had a meeting in the Stinchar valley this morning and found myself with an hour to spare before my next meeting in Girvan (to deliver some mink traps). What better to do than to have a walk up a tributary of the Stinchar on a burn where I wanted to look at how some bank revetment works were standing up to the spates.

 

After a few minutes I was pleasantly surprised to came across a trout redd in the tail of a pool. There was a trout of 3/4lb or so on the redd although it looked quite big to have been made by a fish of that size. I was wearing my polaroids of course, essential item for a fishery biologist (although it can get you some funny looks in December) and luckily I had my Fuji camera with polarising filter so I was able to get some good photos.

Spotted on the 27th Oct

Early trout redd spotted on the 27th Oct

This is quite early for Ayrshire as in my limited (only five years) experience in this part of the world it is early November before trout start spawning in relatively lowland locations like this.

 

Watching salmon and trout spawning is one of my favourite ways to pass an autumn day, it helps to shorten the winter as before you know it is the New Year. If you are interested in going out to watching spawning fish try and spend some time with someone experienced. I have been fortunate to spend quite a few days watching fish spawning behaviour with John Webb, ex Atlantic Salmon Trust biologist, who is a font of knowledge on the subject. A big thanks to John and I can only hope that others continue to be able to benefit from his wealth of knowledge in the future. It might also be a good idea to contact the local bailiffs just incase you get your collar felt for suspicous behaviour around a salmon spawning site!

 

This particular burn has some first class habitat for salmon and trout.

Excellent habitat

Excellent habitat

Although there are areas of rapid erosion which have proved difficult to stabilise.

Eroding bank (good source of spawning gravel!)

Eroding bank (good source of spawning gravel!)

This burn is quite productive, as are most in the Stinchar valley, and it will be producing lots of salmon and trout smolts. By the way the revetments hadn’t moved in three years!

 

So there you have it the first post on the ART blog! Constructive comments are welcome!

 

When we first considered setting up a blog the main motivation was that when you work for an organisation like a rivers Trust you get to see so much of interest that there was no other option but to share. Hopefully it will also help to promote the Trust’s activities and stimulate involvement.

 

Brian Shaw

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