I have often thought this as I take my grandsons pond dipping at places like the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Arundel.
After a while, they get a bit bored, whereas I could stay there for hours catching, examining and releasing the water creatures we have netted.
On Friday, I discovered that “pond dipping” really can be for adults as well; less pond dipping and more stream dipping.
Surrey Wildlife Trust is doing enormous work to identify the water quality of brooks, streams, and rivers around Cranleigh. They held a training session on the subject of insect life in the local Littlemead Brook.
This often ignored body of water is one of the tributaries of Cranleigh Waters, which flows into the River Wey and then onto the River Thames.
One of the challenges for the Trust is to try to work with local landowners and others to maintain the water quality, important as that is, for wildlife and ourselves.
We learned how to distinguish between Caddisflies, Mayflies, Stoneflies, and other freshwater creatures in the classroom. We then decamped from the classroom and into the brook, net and bucket in hand, to see what the water contained.
Despite low water levels, we caught and identified a wide range of insects good for fish and birdlife along the banks.
We also caught numerous Bullsheads (a fish sometimes known as a Miller’s Thumb because of its flattened and round appearance), a sign of generally good water quality.
Also captured was the less welcome Signal Crayfish (an invasive American species that decimated the native British species in most parts of the country.
The next time you find yourself looking into a local stream of brook, do ask yourself what might be hiding away below the surface.
Nick Bamford is a Cranleigh resident of almost 40 years and founder of Informed Choice Independent Financial Planners.