Wednesday, 23 September 2020

River Life

I've been swimming a couple of times recently in the Anglin River with our friend Huub. It's a beautiful spot and the water temperature has been a steady 19C, which I find just right. I've taken the opportunity to photograph some of the nice wildlife in the area.

River Anglin, Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The River Anglin.

Swimming in the River Anglin, Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Huub.

 

Huub, who is an emeritus professor of biomechanics, is wearing a prototype wetsuit he designed for his eponymous company which makes specialist triathletic gear. He tells me that business is quite good in these Covid19 ridden times, as more people are trying out wild swimming, which they see as safer than going to a swimming pool.
 

The caddisfly Chimarra marginata. Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The caddisfly Chimarra marginata (Fr. un trichoptère).

These tiny caddisflies were everywhere, running all over the stones and us. The group has been extensively surveyed in France as part of the campaign to maintain fresh water in good condition ecologically. The range of species of caddisflies in a river can tell you a lot about the levels of pollution. There are around 400 species in France (and just yesterday a new species was confirmed). A good site for information on and identifying all aquatic insects in France is OPIE-BENTHOS [link].

Shaggy Soldier Galinsoga quadriradiata. Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Shaggy Soldier Galinsoga quadriradiata (Fr. Galinsoga cilié).

Shaggy Soldier is a naturalised plant which seems to have come originally from Mexico.

Swimming in the River Anglin. Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Huub swimming.

Swimming in the River Anglin. Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Huub swimming.

Weir across the River Anglin. Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A weir across the River Anglin.

Gypsywort Lycopus europaeus. Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Gypsywort Lycopus europaeus (Fr. Lycope d'Europe).

The English name Gypsywort comes from the practice of using the plant as a stain. It will dye textiles, but also darken skin and had a reputation for being used by 'rogues' disguising themselves as gypsies (why you would do so I have no idea, except maybe to divert blame towards the Romany community if you had committed a crime).

Spider webs over a mill race. Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Dozens of orb spider webs over a mill race.

Scullcap Scutellaria galericulata. Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Skullcap Scutellaria galericulata (Fr. Scutellaire casquée).

The closely related American skullcap species was used by indigenous people as a sedative, but even though the European species contains the same active ingredient there is no tradition of it being used medicinally.

Scullcap Scutellaria galericulata. Vienne. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Skullcap.

 

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4 comments:

chm said...

How can spiders build their web in such a place? Can they jump over the water?

Susan said...

I think they jump from a height and taking advantage of the breeze.

Le Pré de la Forge said...

Susan.... Skullcap.... not Scullcap....
you've been near the water too long, lass!!
Less sculling, more swimming....

Susan said...

It's because I'm having to deal with three languages.

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