So far we have recorded 23 deaths in 2012, 19 in Somerset, 1 on the Axe just over the border with Devon, and 3 up in Avon. This is lower than average, and many fewer than last year (43), which was a very bad one, especially on the Brue catchment, where we had 17, plus 2 ‘sick unto death’, but never found. The Parrett had 11 last year, so one wonders if either the bile fluke was involved in these high totals, or the slower flowing water of those 2 areas was more affected by the dry, hot weather.
Despite these losses, we found more or less what we expected in the Spring survey, which was reassuring. However, since then there have been, as far as one can tell in such a prolonged period of rain, one or two worrying blank patches. For instance, I have recorded only 20 visits in my daily recording on a tributary of the Tone, against an annual expectation of about 60. Against this, there are 16 litters of cubs in the log book, with 3 more to be confirmed, so perhaps it is just a local problem on the Tone, a pollution incident again, perhaps.
This emphasises the importance of all our members keeping on recording. Just in case anything is going wrong again.