Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Surprise over the canal

The local canal runs through agricultural land and is a haven for many species of wildlife. My last visit was too long ago and so I decided it was time for a quick trip ( these quick trips usually turn into longer adventures).

I arrived mid morning and set off with the intention of walking to the first bridge which is a mile or so from the car park. Each section of the canal has a character of its own with different wildlife being attracted to different sections between the locks. One stretch where I usually find nesting swans had a much lower water level than usual and this year it looks as though the swans have moved elsewhere.I did however see a Grey wagtail in an area I saw them last year. I managed a couple of photos before it was disturbed by paddling dogs. 

Apart from the dogs and their walkers there was nobody else about and I enjoyed the sound of the Reed buntings and a Willow warbler.

A little sunshine appeared which brought out a few butterflies including this Orange-tip.

A few sedge flies could be seen clinging to the backside vegetation.

The white dead-nettles were in flower as was this Garlic mustard (also known as Jack-by-the-hedge). 

There were also the yellow flowers of Lesser celandine.

The water in the canal is generally very clear and the pads of the Yellow water-lily could be seen rising up. In one place these had reached the surface and an early flower was appearing.

On the far bank of the canal a moorhen was busy feeding young.

The canal is a special place and often presents me with a surprise. It could be a hare running up the towpath, a sighting of Roe deer in the fields or the flash of blue as a Kingfisher flies past. 

Today however my surprise although experienced at the canal was not realised until I had returned home. I saw what at first I thought was a large gull but then as it turned towards me I decided it was a buzzard as they are a common site in this area. Now some may have guessed already but I was non the wiser until looking closely at my photographs something nagged me about the id. Closer inspection revealed some white on the birds head and it dawned on me that what I had seen was Osprey. I did later hear of one that had passed through the area.

Once again the canal had managed to surprise me. I look forward to my next visit. 

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