Mystery photo

27th September 2009, Sunday

This weekend I revisited the dry grazing marsh at Rye that I walked over last week, and as I passed a rare puddle of water in one of the ditches my attention was drawn to a commotion on the surface of the water. Large numbers of bubbles were rising to the surface, agitated by something moving under the very turbid water.

There were several small sticklebacks on the margins of the puddle, but these did not seem to be big enough to cause the disturbance.

Eventually the head of an eel projected above the surface of the soft mud, sucked in a gulp of air, and retreated again.  A moment later it wriggled out of its muddy retreat causing a further flurry of bubbles. Clearly the ability to take oxygen from air is an advantage that allows this fish to survive pretty poor conditions, but what with the death of eels at Pett Pools, and the obvious stress of these fish in a pretty anoxic looking pool, exposed to attack by herons and egrets, now is not a good time to be a fish in these habitats.