All illustrations by Dan Cole / The Art Agency
1 Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
18–20cm. Summer visitor; arrives in March–April. Nests on fast-flowing rivers, mainly in north and west.
2. Sand martin Riparia riparia
12–13cm. Summer visitor; arrives in March. Told from house martin by chest band. Nests in sandy banks.
3. Goosander Mergus merganser
58–68cm. Fish-eating ‘sawbill’ duck with long serrated bill. Nests on fast-
flowing rivers in north and west.
4. Otter prints & spraint Lutra lutra
Prints: five toes (not four as in foxes or dogs) above large pad mark. Spraint: smells sweet, not fishy like mink.
5. Bullhead/Miller’s thumb Cottus gobio
Up to 8cm. Fat, flat-topped head; large pectoral fins at sides. Hides near stones in well-oxgenated rivers.
6. Minnow Phoxinus phoxinus
Up to 5cm. Slim, with dark mottling along flanks. In shallows, often in large shoals when spawning.
7. Water moss Fontinalis antipyretica
Long stems up to 20cm in length; UK’s largest aquatic moss. Attaches to stones or submerged tree roots.
8. Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium
Creeping plant with tiny gold flowers. On damp riverbanks, often in woods.
9. Butterbur Petasites fragrans
Pink flower spikes appear March–May, before huge round leaves unfurl. On damp riverbanks, often in woods.
10. Alderfly Sialis lutaria
10–15mm. Brown, strongly veined wings. A sluggish fly with weak flight; often rests on waterside vegetation.
11. Large dark olive Baetis rhodani
Body: 8–12mm; tails: up to 18mm. On wing January–April. Abdomen grey (male) or red-brown (female).
12. River skater Aquarius najas
13–17mm; larger than common pond skater. Floats on surface film of rivers, mainly in north and west.