Monday, July 15, 2013

Glorious Summer!

A third consecutive weekend out on the Canal sums up what's fast becoming one of the best summer periods for several years. There's no doubt too that it's not only great for us boaters but for the UK's resident and visiting wildlife as a whole. After suffering a few disasters over the previous few years our visiting warblers, hirundines and swifts for example, finally have food a plenty and in lots of cases appear to be enjoying second broods.

Another glorious weekend out on the UK waterways!
Looking back at some of my butterfly records over previous years things are looking a little brighter too for a number of local species, in particular Meadow Brown and Ringlet, which seem to be everywhere at the moment, but of course only time will tell as to whether the recovery is significant or not!

Sedge Warbler busy feeding young.
Dee and I literally spent the whole of the weekend moored under a large willow tree on the Oxford Canal near Flecknoe, just watching the world go by, in fact from a boating perspective the canal resembled the M25 motorway at times and so being moored was a bonus, particularly in the 30C+.

Linnet - Seem to be in good numbers this year.
Even spending a short time in one place you get a feel for the local wildlife and I spent a lot of the time watching a pair of Sedge Warblers caring for their young, constantly in and out of the undergrowth opposite. Also nesting close by were Common Whitethroat, Dunnock and Moorhen, the latter of which seemed to be only caring for one chick. In the evening a huge number of Jackdaws could be heard at a distant roost and at one point a small party were overhead heading off a couple of local Buzzard. The dawn chorus, which with all of the hatches and windows open seemed to be almost deafening at times, has a different edge to it on the canal with Linnet, such a lovely song, along with Goldfinch and Yellowhammer. Sadly no Owls during our stay, something we normally never fail to see, with Barn Owls a regular feature on this stretch of canal.

Of course a summer weekend wouldn't be complete without the company of butterflies and these included excellent numbers of Ringlet and various numbers of: Meadow Brown, Small White, Large White, Marbled White, Large Skipper, Comma, Speckled Wood and Brimstone, plus a single Fritillary flew by, sadly too quick for a positive ID. Lots of Brown Hawker dragonflies busily feeding on the many insects but never landing long enough to entice me out of my chair to attempt a photograph.