I’ve always wanted to show how wildlife can be found in the most unlikely places and with the help of this endoscope on a pole, this drain gives me the perfect opportunity
At first there doesn’t seem to be much beneath the surface but as I get used to holding the pole still some small fish begin to appear out of the murky water. These are probably the most numerous fish in the UK, European minnows. They only grow to around 8 centimetres long but in just a few square metres of water, there must be nearly a thousand of them and they don’t seem a bit camera shy. Minnows are omnivores and as the water in this drain runs off from nearby roads, they have probably gathered here to feed on the organic matter that washes down with it.
However, life is not so easy for these minnows and I notice a predator hiding in the mist. It is a northern pike, they can grow to more than 4 foot in length and eat mostly other fish and aquatic animals. Unfortunately it is just out of reach of the endoscope..
It swims away but from above I see what direction it swims and decide to try to follow, moving about a 30 foot downstream. As the endoscope dips beneath the cloudy surface, I have no idea what I might see.
Amazingly here there are hundreds of mixed silver fish. These are all around 6 inches long and are made up of 3 different species. Roach, chub and dace. The roach are easily identified by their orange eyes and fins. The broader fish with a more stocky appearance and dark shading to the edge of their tails and dorsal fins are chub and the torpedo shaped fish without any real markings are Dace. These fish have probably swam up from where the drain meets with the river to spend the winter here in this surprisingly deep area. During the colder months fish metabolisms really slow down and by staying here they don’t have to spend any energy swimming against the current and are safer from most of the larger predators that live in the main river. As the weather, and the water, warms up, they will start to head into the main river channel to spawn and spend the summer months.
I cant stay in this position any longer so the pike will have to be the one that got away.
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