They're fish. Galaxias - probably G. maculata, although I will have to catch one for a proper ID. The nearest I have been to real live fish for a good few days. I took a walk across the field (had to escape my desk for a few minutes) and to the 'crick' (aka trickle with a few wider spots) and there they were. Only an ichthyologist could find them fascinating, alas. They're about 4 cm long and there in gurt big shoals (well shoals for a barely flowing puddle that is maybe 4 inches deep at the deepest.) It's amazing that they're there at all. Apparantly they're anadromous and move up from the sea.
Hmm. I see they are caught for 'whitebait' - when they move upstream - little fish that are fried whole. To quote the Wikipedia entry: "Foreigners frequently react with revulsion when shown uncooked whitebait, which resembles slimy, translucent worms." Hmm. Remind me not show them to B, uncooked.
Well well. I see it is a strictly controlled 'recreational fishery' in Tasmania.
Amazing what you can learn from a walk to the creek. At some stage the self-sufficiency live off the land bloke will have to try them. After all, we tried mutton-birds. Actually we had muttonbird - cooked by Inge (to show us how it was done and to be nice to us,)this evening, as we had a powerfailure (lost the longer post). It's still a bit on the fried-in-fish-oil stakes, but not inedible.
I think that one of the aspects of foraging is that you have to be 'noticing' and have an eye for detail, and a rather, relentless quizziosity. Funnily enough, in that sense, it fits rather well into the way I persue my other profession - especially with the current alternate history stuff. I probably look up about 400 things a day. It's not a great aid to flow... but it is rather what I am. Most of this doesn't obviously reflect in the books (for eg. if a character needs to look at other ships - I need to know what a crows nest was called in 1437. And I need to know that the telescope was not invented yet.) and I've often wondered if anyone notices.
But I would.
Which is why we'll end up tasting whitebait one of these days.