BBC Wildlife Magazine



Water crowfoot

There are seven species of these beautiful whiteflowe­red buttercups, which grow in still or running water. Some have both floating (laminar) leaves and submerged, thread-like (capillary) leaves. However, the classic chalk stream species, such as river water crowfoot and chalk stream water crowfoot, have just the submerged ones. Their large beds are a sign of a healthy watercours­e.


This salad section staple grows abundantly in the wild along many chalk streams. It’s distinctiv­e for its sprawling, hollow stems, which bear the familiar glossy-green paired leaflets. Clusters of white flowers atop the stems are obvious during high summer.


Fondly known as the ‘lady of the stream’, this silvery freshwater fish has a huge, multi-coloured, chequered dorsal fin – its most distinctiv­e feature. The species prefers clean, fast-flowing rivers with gravelly beds, where the females can dig their spawning hollows known as redds.


A broad, heavy head and wedge-shaped body help the bullhead to hide under the stones of clean, fast-moving streams. Its spiny dorsal and pectoral fins offer extra protection against predators, which include kingfisher­s and otters. Preferring to remain concealed by day,

the diminutive bullhead then darts out at night to grab unsuspecti­ng insects and crustacean­s.


No larger than a sparrow, the spritely kingfisher is surely one of our most celebrated and sought-after species. With a dagger-like bill, electric-blue back and orange underparts, it is unmistakab­le. The bird is more common than you might think along many lowland watercours­es, and chalk streams – with their healthy population­s of fish – suit it perfectly.

 ??  ?? Bullheads grow up to 12cm and hide amid stones.
Bullheads grow up to 12cm and hide amid stones.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom