Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

How to be a naturalist on a budget: the grapnel

Why buy expensive biological recording equipment from ecology suppliers when with a bit of wartime improvisation you can make your own at a fraction of the price.

Here's how to make a grapnel:

1. Purchase egg whisk from Wilkinson's or any other cheap 'n' cheerful High Street shop (cost 99p)
2. Chisel free the wire loops and bend in to hook shapes
3. Attach a length of redundant electrical cable or rope to handle

Note: When fitted with jack plug grapnel doubles up as an effective field aerial on which to pick up your favourite pirate radio station such as Valley Naturalist FM.

Grapnel was field tested by my son at Garn yr erw yesterday and from the image it can clearly be seen to be effective in sampling aquatic macrophytes.

Elsewhere around the watery Blaenavon landscape there were plenty of common hawker, black darter and golden ringed dragonflies on offer, and a large patch of flowering round leaved sundew was a welcome find. 

Ornithologically a grasshopper warbler could just be made out in scrub adjacent to a small pond, a single wheatear and reed bunting, as well as hundreds of meadow pipit and hirundines feeding on a good crop of emerging flying ants. Also good numbers of goldfinch.

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