Basingstoke Canal excursion
Saturday 20th July 2019
On a changeable summer day with sunny intervals and downpours, a good crowd of Quekett members, spouses and visitors came to Brookwood Memorial Hall for a day collecting from and alongside the Surrey stretch of the Basingstoke Canal, a Site of Special Scientific Interest that we visit each year.
Brookwood Memorial Hall
As members arrived, they set up their microscopes, cameras, computers, nets, jars, trays, keys and books on tables in the Hall, and then set off for the short walk to the canal in small groups. Some members stayed behind to guard our equipment.
We started at Sheets Heath Bridge and some members turned left and walked along the path to the start of the Deepcut flight of locks just past Pirbright Bridge, while others turned right, looking for interesting specimens in and near the canal. The sun was shining when we set out so we did not take our macs and umbrellas, but that was a mistake because it poured with rain on the way back.
Tony Pattinson collecting with his plankton net
Tony Pattinson examining his catch
The weather had been cool for several days before the excursion so we saw only a few damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies and beetles.
Blue damsel fly
Soldier beetles (Rhagonycha fulva, identified by Tim Newton)
Back in the Hall, we dried out, warmed up with tea and coffee and started to examine the specimens.
Members in the Hall [by Graham Matthews]
Members in the Hall [by Tony Pattinson]
Paul Smith brought his monocular Wild M11 compound microscope and a Philip Harris stereomicroscope and took photographs through both of them with an afocal arrangement, a Canon EOS M3 fitted with a 50mm f/1.8 standard lens.
Paul’s specimens included waterfleas, insect larvae, Cyclops, Ceratium, rotifers, nauplius larvae and Scapholeberis mucronata. You can see some of Paul’s photographs below.
Dennis Fullwood used his Chinese inspection camera to display images on his iiyama ProLite E2483HS monitor.
Dennis Fullwood’s inspection camera
Dennis Fullwood’s display
Dennis also brought his trinocular Olympus SZ4045 stereomicroscope and his trinocular Nikon Labophot compound microscope.
Dennis Fullwood and Serena Farrely
Tony Pattinson brought his usual “portable” equipment, a PZO stereomicroscope for examining material from the Canal and a trinocular Olympus CH-2 microscope with a Brunel camera sending images to ToupView on his laptop.
Some of Tony Pattinson’s equipment
Tony has recently made some inserts for a Really Useful Box so that he can carry aound tubes and bottles of various shapes and sizes.
Tony Pattinson’s tube and bottle carrier
Thanya Nirantasook and Tony Pattinson
Tony’s specimens included a flatworm, Sida crystallina, Ceriodaphnia, Acroperus harpae, Polyphemus pediculus, Simocephalus, insect larvae, Eurycercus lamellatus, Crangonyx pseudogracilis, Spirostomum, Spirogyra and ivy-leaved duckweed. You can see some of Tony’s photographs below.
Peter Wakeman arrived with an impressive collection of crates, from which he assembled his GXMXDS-1 trinocular inverted microscope with a Chinese inspection microscope feeding into a laptop, and his GXMMZS0745 trinocular stereomicroscope with a GXCam HiChromeMet camera displaying its output on a monitor
Peter Wakeman’s illuminator
Graham Matthews brought his trinocular Leitz Dialux compound microscope with a circular stage (fitted with a modified Chinese mechanical stage). Graham used an afocal arrangement with a Zeiss 8× Kpl eyepiece, a Tominon lens and a Canon EOS 500D digital SLR controlled by DSLR Remote Pro on his laptop.
Some of Graham Matthews’ equipment
Some of Graham Matthews’ equipment
Graham’s specimens included a caddis larva in its case, Asterionella, Vorticella, Fragilaria, Synedra, Pediastrum, Harpalus, Simocephalus vetulus, Sida crystallina and Ceriodaphnia. You can see some of Graham’s photographs below.
Neil Henry used his monocular PZO microscope (converted to LED lighting) with the eyepiece replaced by a YW5.0M digital camera sending images to ToupView on his laptop.
Irma Irsara brought her unbranded trinocular stereomicroscope with an LED ringlight. On the trinocular port, she used a 21 MPixel camera recording images in Debut Professional on her laptop. Irma had problems adjusting the settings on the camera, but with Quekett expertise on hand we worked out that the setting could only be changed via the HDMI port and a monitor. Irma also brought her Nikon D3200 digital SLR with 18-55mm zoom lens and a clamp that attached to one of the eyepiece tubes, an afocal arrangement.
Irma Irsara and Dennis Fullwood
Irma did not only look at specimens from the Canal, she also collected moss from the roof of the Hall and tried to find waterbears.
After lunch, Serena Farrely, one of the Arkwright Scholars from the November 2018 Workshop came with her family and they all had a look through our microscopes.
Members and visitors in the Hall
Graham Matthews, Serena Farrely, Dennis Fullwood and Thanya Nirantasook
Dennis Fullwood set up some yellow pan traps in the grounds of the Hall, to collect insects.
Yellow pan trap
Quekett members always bring interesting books on the excursions, and some of the ones this time were:
- A Manual of Acarology (3rd edition) by G. W. Krantz & D. E. Walter
- British Oribatidae (Volume 1) by Albert Davidson Michael
- Insects of Britain & Northern Europe (3rd edition) by Michael Chinery
- Ants of Surrey by John Pontin
- Grasshoppers by Valerie K. Brown
- Ants by Gary J. Skinner & Geoffrey W. Allen
- Grasshoppers and Crickets of Surrey by David W. Baldock
- Ponds and small lakes: Microorganisms and freshwater ecology by Brian Moss
- Animals of the surface film by Marjorie Guthrie
- Small Freshwater Creatures by Lars-Henrik Olsen, Jakob Sunensen & Bente Vita Pedersen
Report and most photographs by Alan Wood
Acroperus harpae [by Graham Matthews]
Video of Acroperus harpae, by Graham Matthews
Click the arrow to start the video; click the symbol to the left of “vimeo” for a larger version
Alona sp., 10× objective, scale bar is 200 µm [by Tony Pattinson]
Copepod [by Paul Smith]
Copepod with eggs, 2.5× objective, scale bar is 500 µm [by Tony Pattinson]
Copepod giving birth, 2.5× objective, scale bar is 500 µm [by Tony Pattinson]
Scapholeberis sp. [by Paul Smith]
Sida crystallina and Ceriodaphnia sp. [by Tony Pattinson]
Sida crystallina [by Tony Pattinson]
Sida crystallina [by Graham Matthews]
Simocephalus vetulus [by Graham Matthews]
Beetle larva, 4× objective, scale bar is 500 µm [by Tony Pattinson]
Caddis larva [by Graham Matthews]
Mayfly nymph [by Paul Smith]
Water mite [by Tony Pattinson]
Asterionella sp. (colonial diatom) [by Graham Matthews]
Fragilaria sp. (colonial diatom) [by Graham Matthews]
Synedra sp. (diatom) [by Graham Matthews]
Ceratium sp. (dinoflagellate algae) [by Paul Smith]
Pediastrum sp. (colonial green algae) [by Graham Matthews]
Flatworm, 4× objective, scale bar is 500 µm [by Tony Pattinson]
Rotifer [by Paul Smith]
Sinantherina socialis (colonial rotifer) [by Tony Pattinson]
Sinantherina socialis on duckweed [by Tony Pattinson]
Vorticella sp. (ciliate) [by Graham Matthews]