Yesterday evening we took a leisurely cruise along the Grand Union/Oxford Canal to one of our usual mooring spots for a few days on 'The Cut', that's a boaty word for the canal!
Prior to departure I had a few hours down at Brandon Marsh with the Sunday regulars and ended up with a reasonable haul. Three Little Egrets on East Marsh Pool wasn't too bad, along with Common Sandpiper, Water Rail and two Little Ringed Plover. I didn't attend last Thursday's works team but have to say what a great job they did in managing to get lots of water back onto the recently bone-dry Teal Pool. The four Green Sandpipers feeding on it and another shy Water Rail within the reed bed certainly appreciated it! I also managed a Black-tailed Godwit, eventually, as just prior to leaving one emerged from one of Islands undergrowth, looking quite nice in summer plumage. Also worth a mention were several juveniles I'd spotted on my walk around New Hare Covert, Nuthatch, Willow Tit and Treecreeper, plus the five young Gadwall picked up on last week also seemed to be doing well on East Marsh Pool.
This morning the weatherman said it would be dry and so naturally it rained until around midday! Fortunately it brightened up sufficiently to produce lots of Butterfly on the wing and so I set off for an afternoon walk, taking the towpath to Braunston and back from my mooring at Flecknoe. Amazing how diverse the towpath can be with lots of Willow, Bramble, Elder, small Oak and Hawthorn to name a few, this even though the outlook remains the same, with open fields throughout my walk, most of which have already been harvested.
Firstly lots of Gatekeepers, but I as progressed and the path became warmer and dryer species such as Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma all appeared basking on the warm ground and within the nearby nettle. In areas along the path where wild flowers and grasses were growing I had good numbers of Common Blue, and the various Whites, plus one single Brimstone. As you approach Braunston small Oak copse appear and within were good numbers of Speckled Wood too. A really enjoyable walk and on the birding front I managed more Corn Bunting, lots of Yellow Hammer and Linnet, which seem prolific on this stretch and you can never moor around this area without the usual Raven, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.